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UK in talks with Westinghouse over new nuclear power plant in Wales - The Times

09/24/2021 | 05:42am EDT
A Westinghouse Electric sign is seen during the China International Import Expo (CIIE), at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is in talks with U.S. nuclear reactor company Westinghouse on building a new atomic power plant on Anglesey in Wales, The Times reported.

If it gets the go-ahead the new plant at Wylfa would be able to generate enough electricity to power more than six million homes and could be operational in the mid-2030s, The Times said.

The government said nuclear had a key role to play in reducing Britain's reliance in fossil fuels and exposure to volatile gas prices.

"We are seeking to approve at least one more large-scale nuclear project this Parliament in order to strengthen our energy security, and create thousands of jobs across the country," a spokesperson said.

"We recognise how important it is that we can manufacture fuel in Wales and the wider UK and maintain a skilled workforce in the sector."

Japan's Hitachi Ltd scrapped plans to build a nuclear power plant at the Wylfa site a year ago after it failed to find private investors or secure sufficient government support for the project.

The decision left only the British arm of France's EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corp building in the nuclear sector, where around half of UK plants are set to close in the next few years.

The partners are building the first UK nuclear power plant in decades at Hinckley Point in west England, and are planning a second at Sizewell in east England.

Nuclear power provided around 16.8% of Britain's electricity generation in 2019, according to National Grid, while gas was used to generate 38.4%.

The recent spike in gas prices combined with a fall in renewable generation due to low wind speeds had underlined the need for more nuclear capacity, The Times said, citing a government source.

"If our current situation shows anything it is that we need more stable home grown, low carbon generation in the UK," the source told the newspaper. "This is an important project that we're very keen to try and get off the ground."

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Paul Sandle; editing by Victor Jack and Sarah Young)

© Reuters 2021
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