RWE And E.ON To Build Anglesey Nuclear Plant
by Mike Evans
A joint venture of German power giants RWE and E.ON aims to build a new nuclear plant at Wylfa on Anglesey, possibly within 10 years, as part of a mega 20 billion pounds UK investment.
These are hugely ambitious plans from these two German energy companies, at a time of significantly difficult global economic conditions and uncertainties in credit markets.
The announcement of this mega joint venture was welcomed by UK government Energy Minister Mike O’Brien, who noted that this is a key investment in Britain’s long term energy security.
RWE Npower Chief Executive Andrew Duff says that both RWE and E.ON can compliment their strengths and capabilities, a form of corporate synergy, noting that both have a good record in nuclear generation.
Overall the plans suggest that around 6 GW of new electricity generating capacity will be added, which amounts to about 10 per cent of total UK capacity of all power plants.
And remember that Wylfa here on Anglesey contributes about 40 per cent of the electricity consumed in Wales.
Recently RWE secured approval for a grid connection of up to 3.6 GW for a new nuclear power plant at Wylfa.
In addition to this, the JV partner E.ON has been given similar permission to link up to the National Grid at Oldbury in Gloucestershire.
This huge announcement is significant for Anglesey as Wylfa provides a large number of
highly skilled jobs, as well as supporting other businesses in the local and regional supply chain.
Local MP Albert Owen, who has been leading the campaign to secure a new plant on the island, welcomes this positive development and the potential it brings to the island’s economy.
There is also news on the likely reactor design to be chosen for both Wylfa and Oldbury.
Though E.ON had previously signed a document backing in principle the French company Areva’s EPR (European Pressurized Reactor) design, it now seems to have stepped back from any firm commitment.
Areva’s EPR is the reactor design choice of French giant EDF, which recently had to dispose of land at Wylfa as part of the British Energy deal, and is also planning to build at least four new nuclear reactors in the UK.
It seems likely that the RWE E.ON joint venture may instead go for the Toshiba Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design, the main challenger to Areva’s EPR.
At this stage, however, each company may maintain their own option on reactor technology for each specific site, depending on technical and commercial criteria.
So now things are looking really bright for Wylfa on Anglesey, with the prospect of thousands of construction jobs being created going forward over the next decade or so.
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