Companies from Britain, China, the US and Korea are eyeing the site of a former nuclear power station in Snowdonia National Park as a potential test-bed for a fleet of miniature nuclear reactors. The site at Trawsfynydd in north Wales has been earmarked as a candidate site to build small modular reactors (SMRs), with an electricity output of under 300 megawatts, after a government competition designed to boost the technology. Amber Rudd, the energy secretary, said on May 12 that 38 companies had submitted expressions of interest to participate in the competition. They will be notified today whether they have been approved for the next phase. About £250 million of funding is being made available by the government over the next five years. Bidders are understood to include the American groups Westinghouse and Bechtel, as well as CNNC, a Chi nese state-controlled company, and a Korean-led consortium linked to the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute. Britain’s Rolls-Royce is also involved as part of NuScale Power, a US-led group headed by Fluor, another US engineering giant. The 15-acre site at Trawsfynydd, where two Magnox nuclear reactors generated electricity for the UK grid from 1965 to 1991, is owned by the government through the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). It was not included on a list of eight sites approved for construction of new nuclear stations in 2009, partly because of its relatively small size and its location in a national park. However, there is mounting political support in Wales and Westminster to amend the list to include Trawsfynydd. The Welsh government commissioned a study last year by the engineering firm Arup, which recommended it as a suitable site for SMRs.
Times 23rd May 2016 read more »