Nuclear at Wylfa is the clean energy opportunity of the century

The greatest single action the UK could take to fight climate change, to guarantee our energy security, and create transformational economic opportunity for North Wales is to build large-scale nuclear development at Wylfa in my constituency of Ynys Môn. That is not just the view of a proud MP – that is the fact.

Nuclear power stations provide a unique and irreplaceable contribution to our energy security. They are the only power source that is clean, 24/7 and sovereign. They use the least carbon and the least land of any energy source. They are more reliable, and they last longer than any other energy asset, and they generate the best jobs.

That is why we need them, and experts are unanimous that Wylfa is the best place in Europe to build them.

We have the grid connection, the bedrock, and the cooling water ideal for a nuclear power plant. We have the land for not just two, but up to four large-scale reactors, and we have a site that has been substantially cleared and prepared for large-scale construction by Horizon Nuclear Power under Hitachi, which would cut construction times.

If we built just two large-scale reactors at Wylfa, we would generate the largest inward investment in Welsh history. The project would drive more than £5 billion of investment into Anglesey, North Wales and the whole Welsh supply chain. It would create at least 10,000 jobs and probably more, on site during construction, and tens of thousands more in the supply chain. The station, with just two reactors, would generate £2 billion worth of clean power every year for 80 years. With four reactors, we could generate £4 billion worth of power, save 17 million tonnes of carbon, and power 10 million homes, every year. Over its lifetime, a new station would create nearly 1,000 jobs in operations for four generations, pumping tens of millions directly into the local economy for the rest of this century and beyond and providing a base on which other businesses on our energy island can thrive.

To seize this historic opportunity, the Government needs to do three things this year: buy the Wylfa site and Intellectual Property from Horizon Nuclear Power from Hitachi, select one of EDF, Westinghouse or the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) as a partner to build a large-scale station at Wylfa, and commit to taking a significant equity stake in that project. Westinghouse, KEPCO and EDF are all well known internationally. All of them have brought large-scale reactors successfully into commercial operation, and our allies in Poland, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands have already been running selections between the three of them. We should use that to make this a fast and efficient process.

A Government equity investment would be worth several billion pounds over construction, but it would be excellent value for money. For a start, it would unlock over £300 billion in clean power generation. It would give confidence to partners and private sectors to invest their own money too. Those billions in investment would go to British jobs in the British supply chain and on a British construction site.

This is the cheapest option in the medium term and long term. We know very well and very painfully from the last two or three years that if we don’t invest in nuclear, and our energy supply is insecure, that everything is more expensive and our economy is exposed to the shocks and whims of forces beyond our control.

It is about more than that, however. Investing in large-scale nuclear at Wylfa is about Ynys Môn again having control of its future. It is about our community being able to provide opportunity for families and for young people, to stay and to grow and to preserve its unique character and the Welsh language. To them, nuclear means jobs, investment and opportunity, for them and for their kids – for all the young people who otherwise leave the island to find good work. Only nuclear provides the jobs, and the clean, reliable, proven British power all in one package, and Wylfa is the best place to get it done.

Virginia Crosbie MP

Virginia Crosbie is the Conservative MP for Ynys Môn, and was elected in 2019.