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£100M Wylfa power tunnel scrapped

London Power Tunnels completed

Plans for a £100M power tunnel connecting the Wylfa nuclear plant on Anglesey to the national grid in mainland Wales have been scrapped, following suspension of nuclear power plant project at the site. 

National Grid has confirmed it has now withdrawn its planning application for the tunnel which is part of the North Wales Connection project. The project also included new pylons and a power tunnel to connect the 2.9GW Wylfa nuclear plant to the national grid.

New Civil Engineer revealed that the National Grid was considering axing the project in January, following the decision by Wyfla developer Hitachi to suspend work on the project. 

The 4km tunnel was to run from the Wylfa nuclear power plant site on the Isle of Anglesey, under the Menai Strait, to connect to the power grid on the mainland. 

A National Grid spokesperson said: “Following Horizon Nuclear Power’s decision to suspend its UK nuclear projects they have told us that they no longer need our connection for Wylfa Newydd and have brought our contract to a close.”  

“In light of this, we have withdrawn our application for a new electricity connection across Anglesey and North Gwynedd.” 

The spokesperson said that if the nulear power project is revived, National Grid will still resubmit its application.  

“If Horizon or another developer brings forward plans for a new nuclear development at Wylfa, we will work closely with them to ensure that there’s a strong and secure electrical connection. We will only develop and construct a connection if it is needed,” the spokesperson said.  

A spokesperson for Horizon Nuclear Power, Hitachi’s nuclear development arm, said the company was confident that the National Grid could support the project if it resumes. 

“This is a wholly expected and reasonable approach. Should we be successful in establishing the conditions for our projects to resume we’re confident National Grid will be able to get both the consents and the physical connection infrastructure in place to support any new time line.”

National Grid previously confirmed that it had not yet started the procurement process for the tunnel under the Menai Strait, but had previously called for contractors to register interest

Drilling surveys to collect rock samples from the seabed were carried out late last year. The drilling rig spent 12 weeks working in the strait to collect samples.   

The news comes as negations on the plant’s future continue, with Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns flying out to Japan to meet with officials from Hitachi.  

Image displayed is of London Power tunnels, a similar National Grid project.

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