Three Wylfa Westinghouse Reactors?
by David Phillips
There is now a strong chance Wylfa B will have three nuclear reactors replacing the exisitng nuclear power station on Anglesey.
US reactor designer Toshiba Westinghouse is understood to have shortlisted two consortia for its programme of building new nuclear plants in Britain.
There is Fluor along with a joint venture of Costain, Hochtief and Sir Alfred McAlpine, and secondly Shaw Group with Laing O'Rourke.
RWE and E.ON have not yet finally decided on their preferred reactor design, being either the Toshiba Westinghouse AP-1000 or Areva's European Pressurised Reactor (EPR).
It is, however, understood that RWE is at an advanced stage of talks with Toshiba Westinghouse about the AP-1000 reactor design.
The US company offers a modular reactor design and this approach sees most of the design built in the factory with assembly at the new build site.
This is crucial, according to Westinghouse, as it gives them more confidence and certainty about final project costs.
Given the nature and size of the site at Wylfa on Anglesey the prevailing view in the nuclear industry is that RWE will opt for three reactors, which suggests the AP1000, each producing 1.1 GWe, while the Areva EPR option would imply two reactors.
The RWE E.ON joint venture set up two separate companies for the two sites at Oldbury and Wylfa, namely Bow Bidco Oldbury Limited and Bow Bidco Wylfa Limited.
E.On and RWE do not expect the first reactor they build in Britain to be generating electricity until around 2019, according to Ralf Guldner, an E.ON Kernkraft GmbH executive.
Between the two Bow Bidco companies, 6GW of nuclear generating capacity will be built and the start date will depend on how long it takes for the UK Government to carry out a satisfactory safety assessment into the reactor designs.
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