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SMR developer Rolls-Royce welcomes decision as ‘key milestone’ Trawsfynydd in North Wales is home to a two-unit Magnox nuclear station which is being decommissioned. Rolls-Royce has welcomed an announcement that the UK will work on proposals for the siting of a new nuclear development at Trawsfynydd, North Wales, hailing the decision as “a key milestone” as the company seeks opportunities for deployment of its small modular reactor technology.

Rolls-Royce SMR’s chief executive, Tom Samson, said identifying sites is a key milestone and this location offers existing grid connection, infrastructure, access to a highly skilled workforce and strong relationships with a supportive engaged community.

“The land around the Magnox site at Trawsfynydd has great potential for small modular reactors,” Mr Samson said.

Earlier, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Cwmni Egino announced they will work together on the proposals, which will not be limited to SMRs.

With the agreement of government’s department for business, energy and industrial strategy, the two organisations are working towards a collaboration agreement aimed at progressing plans which will ultimately support UK government’s energy security strategy.

The NDA is charged with the mission to clean up the UK’s earliest nuclear sites and to ultimately release the 17 sites for other uses.

Cwmni Egino is a development company wholly owned by Welsh government, established to drive future development at the Trawsfynydd site and to promote regional economic and social regeneration.

The NDA site at Trawsfynydd is home to a two-unit Magnox nuclear station which is being decommissioned by Magnox Ltd, a subsidiary of the NDA. The NDA also owns land outside the Magnox site boundary which could be used for a new nuclear development.

UK business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Our ambition for a British nuclear renaissance means a bright future for nuclear power in Wales, not only securing clean, affordable, homegrown energy but also jobs and investment at sites like Trawsfynydd.”

He said the government remains on track to approve eight new nuclear reactors by 2030, transforming the UK’s energy network and revitalising decommissioned nuclear sites.

Alan Raymant, chief executive officer of Cwmni Egino said: “Our relationship with NDA and Magnox is critical to the successful delivery of our vision for the development of new nuclear at Trawsfynydd.”

Rolls-Royce said in April it was to start building parts for its SMRs in anticipation of receiving regulatory approval from the British government by 2024.

Paul Stein, chairman of Rolls-Royce SMR, a subsidiary of the FTSE 100 engineering company, said he hoped the reactors would be providing power to the UK’s national grid by 2029.

SMRs can be built in factories, a method that could be cheaper and quicker than traditional designs. The technology, based on the reactors used in nuclear submarines, is seen by Rolls-Royce as a potential earner far beyond any previous business such as jet engines or diesel motors.

The government under prime minister Boris Johnson has put nuclear power at the centre of its energy strategy, in response to climate concerns and a desire to ditch Russian gas.

Date: Saturday, 21 May 2022
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