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Feature DIARY FROM ANGLESEY I


n this edition’s Diary from Anglesey, Dr John Idris Jones gives an overview of the latest position for both existing and planned nuclear facilities in Anglesey and North West Wales.


With recent headlines focusing on Horizon Nuclear Power, and its shareholders’ decision to exit UK nuclear new build, one would be forgiven for assuming that marked the end of nuclear for Anglesey – this is most definitely not the case. The planned new build development is in reality only a continuation of Anglesey’s 40-year history of safe operation at Wylfa. Works there, as well as at neighbouring Trawsfynydd, across generation and decommissioning, are set to continue for decades to come, making Anglesey and North Wales rich in opportunities.


Welsh and UK governments remain fully committed to new build, highlighting the importance of nuclear power in providing secure, sustainable and affordable energy as well as quality jobs. Economically the area needs the project.


The value of Anglesey’s role in new build is also clear; Energy Minister Charles Hendry has stressed the strengths of the Wylfa site, and the importance of swift resolution. Horizon’s pre-existing site studies and surveys are continuing, and the former Magnox Learning and Development Centre has become the new Horizon Wylfa site office. Whilst times may be uncertain, new build and the economic and social benefits it brings is still a very real opportunity for Anglesey.


both Reactors 1 and 2. A decision by the ONR on transferring partially used fuel from Reactor 2 to Reactor 1 is expected over the coming months. Efforts are now focusing on optimising generation on Reactor 1, which is likely to remain in operation until 2014.


Meanwhile, in the Snowdonia National Park some 40 miles from Anglesey, the Trawsfynydd site is coming close to the Care and Maintenance phase in its lifetime plan. Its 390MW twin reactors first started commercial electricity generation in 1965 and were finally taken offline some 26 years later in 1991.


Trawsfynydd has been selected for accelerated decommissioning as part of the Magnox Optimised Decommissioning Programme. Decommissioning work is now


New build


In terms of new build, the RWE npower/ E.ON decision in March introduced an uncertainty, at a time when the sector was expecting an announcement on the choice of technology vendor, and not a pre-final investment decision withdrawal. This decision was undoubtedly a blow; the £8bn Horizon project at Wylfa envisaged a peak of some 5,000 jobs during construction and 800 permanent positions during operation.


However, optimism remains high that new owners will be found – after all Wylfa is arguably the best site in the UK for new nuclear build, with an excellent workforce and a community that supports new build – and that Horizon will take the project forward. Senior E.ON and RWE npower representatives – as well as Horizon CEO Alan Raymant – have visited Anglesey regularly since the announcement, sharing progress of the sale process. Meanwhile, both the Isle of Anglesey County Council and


Power generation and decommissioning


Since the closure of Oldbury in February this year, Wylfa is the only Magnox site still generating electricity. Sitting on a 20-hectare site on Anglesey’s picturesque north coast, there are two Magnox design reactors and four turbine generators, which on a ‘typical’ day supply 11 million kWh of electricity – enough to meet the needs of cities like Liverpool or Manchester.


First commissioned in 1971, Wylfa’s Reactor 2 finished generating electricity at the end of April. Since that first grid-synching in 1971, Wylfa has produced over 224TWh (terawatt hours) of electricity – equivalent to two-thirds of the UK’s total annual electricity demand. Magnox, the site licence company, is preparing for the transition to the de-fuelling phase and the start of decommissioning.


The decision to close Reactor 2 was in part taken due to the limited Magnox fuel stocks not allowing for the continued operation of


NuclearCONNECT 49


well advanced, with an opportunity to speed up existing projects to achieve an earlier endpoint. Entering accelerated Care and Maintenance will be a landmark event in the UK for either Trawsfynydd or Bradwell, the first sites in the country to achieve this point. Safety and compliance are overarching themes in the planned transition towards the accelerated 2016 Care and Maintenance date.


Words: Dr John Idris Jones


Head of Socio-Economic Development at Magnox Limited and Lead on Skills for Energy Island


Images: Energy Island


If you are interested in the opportunities that Anglesey and North Wales has to offer, then please contact the Energy Island Programme Office on 01248 752462.


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