Get Moving With Wylfa New Build

by Sarah Williams

The programme of new nuclear build at Wylfa on Anglesey will need to be speeded up if the UK is not to face the strong possibility of crippling energy shortages in the future

According to McKinnon and Clarke, a global consultancy in energy, the UK governemnt as well as the National Grid and energy firms need to accelerate the whole process of design and build of new nuclear rectors if it is to avert an energy crisis.

A number of international power companies have set up consortiums to get a slice of the action in the new nuclear build programme ion Britain.

As well as the German energy giants, E.On and RWE, who set out early their plans to
build a new Wylfa nuclear plant
, others include Vattenfall from Sweden, EDF and GDF Suez from France, US firm Energy Solutions, Scottish & Southern Energy and Iberdrola, the Spanish utility.

Clearly, we are approaching a widening energy gap as Britain needs to replace about 1/3 rd of its electricity generating capacity over the next 10-15 years as aging nuclear and coal plants are retired.

Analysts at McKinnon and Clarke believe that though preferred nuclear sites have been announced by the UK Government, including Wylfa where the RWE NPower E.ON consortium recently won the online land auction, the process now seems to have slowed down.

Areas of concern which need to be addressed seriously include connectivity to the National Grid, network designs and the cost structures.

A number of industry figures have considered the real possibility of the first nuclear reactors being ready to go online from around 2017 to 2018, if the interrelated processes move forward without significant hurdles and delay.

The CEO of RWE NPower, which hopes to build up to 6GW of capacity in the UK, has said that it could be possible for a Wylfa B to be generating electricity from 2017, if all the boxes are ticked.

As well as the technical and logistical hurdles to be overcome if the 2017 to 2018 targets for nuclear plant completion are to be met, there is also the possibility of a judicial challenge from environmental groups like Greenpeace, questioning the need for nuclear as a source of energy in the first place.

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