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Great British Nuclear To Buy Two Hitachi Sites For New Nuclear Development

1st April 2024

Photograph of Great British Nuclear To Buy Two Hitachi Sites For New Nuclear Development

Land is to be acquired by government to underpin nuclear revival.

In a historic day for the UK's energy security, Great British Nuclear (GBN) is buying land for new nuclear development from Hitachi at both Wylfa in Ynys Môn/Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire.

GBN also announced that the six companies in Great British Nuclear's (GBN) Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Technology Selection Process can now access tender documentation, allowing them to bid for potentially multi-billion-pound technology development contracts.

Earlier this year, the government published their Civil Nuclear Roadmap, setting out plans to boost the UK's energy security and achieve net zero carbon emissions with up to a quarter of Britain’s energy produced from nuclear power by 2050. Access to nuclear sites is a critical factor in achieving these nuclear ambitions, which included deploying Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and exploring a further large-scale reactor project after Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C.

GBN looks forward to working closely with the local communities at these sites to consider how future new nuclear projects will benefit their communities, with further updates expected over the coming months as the ongoing Small Modular Reactor Technology Selection Process and the government’s broader nuclear programme develop.

Claire Coutinho, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, said, "We are already making progress on our nuclear revival, securing two sites with strong potential to host new projects and help deliver the biggest expansion of nuclear power in 70 years.

Wylfa and Oldbury-on-Severn have proud nuclear histories and stand to benefit from local investment and high-skilled jobs, alongside cleaner, cheaper power for households across the country.

The site announcement is the first of a series that GBN, the government body responsible for delivering Britain’s nuclear renaissance, plans to make as it supports the long-term Civil Nuclear Roadmap commitments and the SMR selection process.

GBN will focus on sites like Wylfa and Oldbury first and potentially others that have a proud legacy of involvement in the UK nuclear industry. The government is currently consulting on a future approach to nuclear sites which could include non-nuclear sites considered in later phases.

Andrew Bowie, Minister for Nuclear, said, "This is a major step forward for the UK’s nuclear revival.

We are bringing nuclear back to the historic sites of Wylfa and Oldbury - and with it jobs, investment and clean energy.

Gwen Parry-Jones, GBN’s Chief Executive said the news was a landmark for new nuclear development in the UK.

These two sites at Wylfa and Oldbury have tremendous potential and present a significant opportunity for Britain and for local communities. Each location has a long history of hosting the UK nuclear industry and has experienced the enormous benefits that nuclear power can bring to their local and regional economies. We deeply appreciate Hitachi’s development of these sites and their work to date was one of the reasons why they were so attractive to us.

We look forward to engaging with each community in what we hope will be a long and fruitful dialogue. As our thinking moves forward, we will update local residents and their representatives in the Wylfa and Oldbury areas.

Alistair Dormer, Executive Vice President Energy and Mobility, Hitachi Ltd. said:

We are delighted that Great British Nuclear selected Wylfa and Oldbury, two of the premier locations for nuclear in the UK. Hitachi has continued to maintain these sites over the years in order to guarantee their future in playing an important role in the UK energy transition for decades ahead.

GBN will work closely with local representatives of the previous landowners to ensure a streamlined approach to continuing site management and a local contact point. GBN will also launch a project website, hold public meetings, and commits to form a Community Forum in Wylfa and Oldbury.

Additionally, the next phase of GBN’s technology selection process is now live. Eligible bidders can now access detailed bid information and will have until June 2024 to submit their tender responses. GBN will assess these to determine which bidders to negotiate with, before inviting those bidders to submit final tenders, with the aim of announcing successful bidders later in 2024.

As announced in October 2023, the companies invited to tender are: EDF Energy, GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy International LLC, Holtec Britain Limited, NuScale Power, Rolls-Royce SMR and Westinghouse Electric Company UK Limited. The companies will now have until June 2024 to submit their tender responses. GBN will assess these and negotiate final contracts, prior to the targeted announcement of successful bidders later in 2024.

Successful bidders’ technologies will be allocated sites and incorporated into projects, and bidders will receive funding to develop their technology.

Talking about the SMR Technology Selection announcement, Gwen Parry-Jones, GBN’s Chief Executive, said, "In addition, the fact that we are inviting companies to tender for our SMR selection process demonstrates that we are working to an ambitious timeline, the fastest that has been done in the market to date globally, to deliver a robust and successful procurement process that delivers value for the taxpayer.

Today’s announcements are important steps in the development of new nuclear power in the UK.

Since summer 2023, GBN has been running a process designed to select those Small Modular Reactor technologies best placed to be operational by the mid-2030s. These reactors are smaller versions of the type of large-scale nuclear power stations currently in operation around the country.

In its Nuclear Roadmap, the government committed to exploring a further large-scale reactor project beyond Sizewell C.

The government is also consulting on alternative routes to market for nuclear projects, and more uses for innovative advanced reactors are being considered as part of a current government consultation.

Great British Nuclear (GBN) is a government arms-length body created to drive forward delivery of new nuclear generating capacity in the UK.

GBN launched a competitive process in April 2023 to select the appropriate Small Modular Reactor technologies with the intention of final selection later in 2024 to take two SMR projects to a Final Investment Decision by 2029.

The government’s recent Nuclear Roadmap clarified GBN’s initial role as completion of the SMR competition. The Roadmap also made it clear GBN would have a broader role in delivering other parts of government’s civil nuclear programme. A third role would be as specialist nuclear advisor to government on a broad range of industry and sectoral barriers to investment and deployment of nuclear strategy beyond the SMR programme.

To this end, GBN has begun a recruitment drive and will transition from its founding secondee workforce to a full-time employee GBN workforce during 2024/25.

PHOTO
Oldbury, South Glouctershire

 

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