The developers behind Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant have put forward proposals to clear around 121 hectares at the Welsh site, despite not yet having planning permission for the plant.
It comes as the Office for Nuclear Regulation approved Hitachi Nuclear Energy Europe’s advanced-boiling water reactor (ABWR) design. Developer Horizon Nuclear Power (HNP) can now use the reactor at Wylfa Newydd.
HNP has submitted plans to Anglesey County Council to carry out site clearance work, such as demolishing existing buildings and vegetation, in preparation for the two-reactor, 2,700MW power plant. HNP believes doing the work now would reduce construction time for Wylfa by about 18 months.
If permission is granted by Anglesey County Council, work is expected to start early next year and take around 15 months to complete.
A spokesperson for HNP said: ”By doing this work now - before we receive the final planning permission for Wylfa Newydd - we’re able to reduce overall construction time by around 18 months, while also limiting the environmental impacts which would occur if the clearance works took place at the same time as other construction activities.”
The proposals include ground improvement works to treat potentially contaminated soil, new office buildings and car parks and establishment works such as new road crossings and establishing a fenced perimeter around the site.
A development consent order (DCO) application for Wylfa Newydd will be put before the planning inspectorate early next year. However, it could take more than 18 months for planning permission to be granted.
Meanwhile three Anglesey County Council members have said they will pressure HNP to minimise adverse impacts on Anglesey residents.
“As locally elected politicians representing the Island’s residents and businesses, we are united in our approach to both these projects [Wylfa Newydd and a National Grid scheme]. Our priority is to ensure the best possible outcomes for the people and communities of Anglesey,” said Llinos Medi, Albert Owen and Rhun Ap Iorwerth in a joint statement.
Wylfa Newydd will be built next to a decommissioned Magnox nuclear power station, with first electricity generated at the plant in 2025.