Planning Timetable and Wylfa B

by S Roberts

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) has released an updated timetable for applications for permission to build new nuclear power stations in Britain, which includes Wylfa B on Anglesey by Horizon Nuclear Power.

It seems EDF Energy is first up in August 2010 for its proposed site at Hinckley Point in North Somerset.

Latest estimates suggest Horizon Nuclear Power ( a joint venture between E.ON and RWE) will submit the Wylfa and Oldbury applications in November 2011.

As the UK gears up for a new generation of nuclear power plants to address our energy security and drive towards a low carbon economy, the IPC will play a key role in decisions on nationally strategic infrastructure projects such as energy.

Set up under the Planning Act 2008, essentially the IPC seeks to make the whole application process for major infrastructure projects run far more smoothly and less susceptible to delays by long public enquiries.

In addition to looking at specific new build applications the IPC will also take into account the National Policy Statement (NPS), set up by the government. to review the need for nuclear power in Britain.

So it is likely the first tranche of new nuclear power plant applications will be at Hinckley Point, Sizewell, Wylfa and Oldbury.

There will also be applications made for associated infrastructure including new road sections and power transmission lines as well as other energy sources like biomass and large wind farms.

So for example, when Horizon Nuclear Power submits its construction application for Wylfa Head on Anglesey, what might happen then?

The IPC will either have to accept or decline the application within one month. A key factor in this "acceptance" stage is deciding whether the developer has carried out a sufficiently thorough consultation, which includes social, economic and environmental assessments.

Up to six months will be available once the timetable is agreed for a comprehensive review of the application.

With the backing of a National Policy Statement (NPS), the IPC would then have to decide within 3 months. In the event of no NPS, the final decision rests with the Secretary of State.

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