Miliband Boosts Wylfa B Prospects
Wylfa on Anglesey is among ten approved sites in England and Wales for new nuclear build, following an announcement by Ed Miliband, Energy Secretary, in the House of Commons.
This is great news for the island economy as it brings ever closer the prospect of an eventual start to construction of a new nuclear plant next to the existing Wylfa plant, where preliminary tests on land are being carried out by Horizon Nuclear Power.
Over 9,000 building jobs would be created during construction phase in the island economy and there would be further spin offs for the supply chain regionally as well as for local accommodation businesses.
Mr Miliband's announcement effectively acts as a fast-track of the new nuclear build programme in the UK, as the Government seeks to address the twin challenge of achieving a low carbon economy and ensuring security of supply.
During 2009 a number of potential sites including Wylfa were assessed for their suitability against set criteria as part of the Strategic Site Assessment (SSA). Those sites which have met the criteria satisfactorily are now included in the draft Government's draft Nuclear National Policy Statement (NPS).
The statement to Parliament highlights how a new planning framework will help accelerate the timetable for completion of the new nuclear plants.
Local stakeholders and others will have plenty of opportunity to have their say on a major infrastructure decision such as a new power plant on Anglesey.
These new proposals facilitate the democratic process during which the public will have three opportunities to put their views forward.
Firstly, there will be an opportunity to respond to the ministerial statement and consultation documents from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) regarding the key question of need for new nuclear energy supply.
There will also be a chance for views to be expressed before any specific planning application goes forward to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), where developer consortia must show that they have consulted properly with local stakeholders.
The new planning reforms being considered means that justification for nuclear as part of a national policy strategy for the UK will be separated out from planning considerations and challenges for specific site proposals.
This means that the use of nuclear energy as a source of power cannot be the premis for an objection at a specific location such as for a Wylfa B on Anglesey.
Nuclear will be a national policy and so there would have to be other specific problems locally which were of sufficient concern for a proposal to be conceivably prevented from going ahead.
The Government are releasing six draft policy statements which touch on the various means of achieving the UK national policy objectives.
These will cover the role of renewables, as well as new nuclear build and clean fossil fuels, using the latest carbon capture and storage technology on coal powered plants.
It is clear that the UK faces a serious but not insurmountable challenge, and that even using the ambitious renewable energy targets set out, the need for around 16GWe of new nuclear capacity is evident.
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