Bill Gates plans bid to build mini nuclear plant in Wales

By Mike Hayes17 May 2023

Companies including TerraPower, founded by the Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and Rolls-Royce have declared an interest in building small modular reactors (SMRs) in North Wales, according to reports.

Trawsfynydd power station - proposed location of the small modular reactor Trawsfynydd power station - proposed location of the small modular reactor. Photo: Adobe Stock

Development company Cwmni Egino – established by the Welsh government – recently completed the first phase of its viability study on the site of the decommissioned nuclear plant at Trawsfynydd.

It now says the location could viably host SMRs generating up to 1GW of electricity.

The UK government has said there will be a competitive tendering process for the development of SMRs, which it plans to roll out before the end of the decade.

If the Trawsfynydd project gets the green light, it could become the UK’s first SMR, with construction expected to start before 2030.

The plant could potentially generate 400 long-term jobs, as well as thousands more direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase.

A credible opportunity

Cwmni Egino believes it could also generate around €1.5 billion in gross value added for Wales, over the plant’s estimated 60-year lifespan.

Cwmni Egino CEO Alan Raymant said, “In addition to meeting our energy needs and net zero targets, deploying SMRs at Trawsfynydd offers a huge inward investment opportunity for Wales. This is aligned with key policies and priorities of both the UK and Welsh Governments.

“We believe that Trawsfynydd presents the first, most credible opportunity to kick start a long-term programme of SMR projects in the UK, and catalyse significant economic growth locally, regionally and nationally. Cwmni Egino provides a development vehicle to drive this forward.”

Raymant added, “Our plans are more advanced than other sites suited to small scale nuclear, and the work we’ve done over the past 12 months gives us added confidence that we can successfully deliver a project at Traws. We have already put in place a five year development programme which means our project can be ready for approval by the latter part of this decade – in line with the UK Government’s energy security ambitions.”

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