French Chinese Wylfa B Bid Withdraws
by David Phillips
build wylfa b
A French-Chinese consortium bidding to build and operate Wylfa B on Anglesey through Horizon Nuclear Power has withdrawn from the process.
With the deadline now passed it will not be possible for the above consortium between Areva, the French nuclear firm with its EPR reactor design and Chinese government-backed Guangdong Nuclear Power Group,to re-enter the race at a later stage.
There are two other groups hoping to become the preferred bidder to build both Wylfa B and a new station at Oldbury in Gloucestershire.
One consortium is led by Japanese firm Hitachi, while the other is made up of Westinghouse and Chinese firm, State Nuclear Power Tech Corp.
The bidding process continues until a preferred bidder is selected for Horizon Nuclear Power, and the estimate is for a decision to be made by Christmas.
A key issue will be the reactor design, and significantly Westinghouse's AP1000 model has already received an interim Design Confirmation Acceptance (DAC) (or approval)from the Office of Nuclear Regulation.
Against the background of the Fukushima incident, in Step 4 of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA), the Office of Nuclear Regulation said they had "decided to issue an interim Design Acceptance Confirmation (DAC) for the AP1000 reactor."
The statement in Step 4 aslo noted that a "major milestone has been achieved" and that it was only other issues that had to be dealt with as part of the overall GDA.
On the other hand, should the Hitachi-led consortium be chosen as the preferred bidder, it would have to go through the assessment for its own reactor design.
With increasing concerns about the retirement of the UK's nuclear plants, with all production ceasing by the mid-2030's, the need to make progress on new build is urgent.
The prospects for Wylfa B have swung up and down regualrly over recent years as various groups are linked with the new build project. Let's hope we can enter a more certain period where a bidder with a strong capital base and rock-solid reactor design can make progress to completion, so we can generate low carbon electricity from Anglesey.
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