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Offshore investigations start at nuclear site

Proposed Wylfa aerial shot

Seabed investigations at the proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station site in Wales have started.

Geotechnical contractor Fugro has commenced marine site characterisation works for developers Horizon Nuclear Power at the Wylfa site on the Isle of Anglesey.

The news comes only a day after MPs said the economic case for the new nuclear power plant must be clearly spelt out.

The detailed works will be carried out during July and August which Fugro said would assist Horizon in gaining a better understanding of the site’s offshore geological conditions.

Fugro said that two jack-up barges from its fleet had been mobilised to conduct high quality geotechnical drilling and sampling operations on 36 borehole locations, in varying water depths.

The operation is taking place around 500m out to sea at Porth-y-Pistyll, and more than 800m from the Cemlyn Bay nature reserve. The work will support Horizon’s proposal to build its cooling water intake structure, marine offloading facility and breakwater. Fugro said that it would also allow Horizon to reduce the volume of road haulage by bringing in many of the bulk materials and large components needed during construction, by sea.

The geotechnical specialist said that its jack-up barges were equipped with a wide range of data acquisition tools including cable percussion, rotary coring, geophysical logging and cone penetration testing. Each unit also has Rib support craft, crane, drilling fluid system, welfare facilities and Fugro’s own state-of-the-art access/egress system.

“Our extensive experience in high profile, complex environmental projects equips us to meet the challenging tidal, seabed and metocean conditions we encounter at this site,” said Fugro geoservices nearshore geotechnics manager Matthew Chappell. “The simultaneous operations, core logging process and crew transfers are run by Fugro’s onsite management and geotechnical teams.”

Horizon Nuclear Power site development director Charlie Tasker said: “Although we’ll be working 24 hours a day, we’ll ensure the work doesn’t cause any inconvenience to local people or tourists by keeping lighting and noise to an absolute minimum.”

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