Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Power Plant, United Kingdom

Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant

Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant is a proposed two-reactor nuclear plant under development in Anglesey, Wales, UK. Being developed by Horizon Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of Hitachi, the 2,700MW power plant is anticipated to begin power generation by the mid-2020s.

The project will increase low-carbon power supplies in the UK by powering up to five million homes and is expected to generate 4,000 jobs during construction and 850 permanent jobs during operations.

Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant location

The site of the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant is located on the land area next to the old Magnox Wylfa power station, which was decommissioned in 2015. The location offers good foundation conditions for a new nuclear power station and ensures easy management of flood risks due to its high-elevation above sea level.

The location also befits low carbon nuclear power generation as it retains the key infrastructure facilities of the old nuclear power plant. The site also offers direct access to requisite seawater cooling facilities.

Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant development details

Horizon Nuclear Power signed the front end engineering and design (FEED) contract for the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power project with its prime contractor Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy (Hitachi-GE) in May 2013.

Hitachi-GE submitted its UK advanced boiling water reactor (UK ABWR) design for generic design assessment (GDA) in January 2014. The GDA involves a rigorous assessment of the reactor design by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA) to approve the reactor design for use in the UK.

Public consultation began on all aspects of the power plant in September 2014 and was concluded in October 2016. The application for a development consent order (DCO) is scheduled for submission in 2017.

Menter Newydd joint venture, led by Bechtel and its partners Hitachi Nuclear Energy Europe and Japan Gas Corporation, was preferred by Horizon Nuclear Power to construct the two-reactor nuclear plant in May 2016.

Horizon Nuclear Power conducted soil investigation works, traffic and transport surveys and environmental and ecological mitigation studies at the site. The potential locations for the support facilities including workers accommodation, a park and ride and logistics hub are currently being evaluated by the company.

The project also involves the development of a marine off-loading facility (MOLF), cooling water intake and outfall structure, power transmission infrastructure, and associated buildings for the administration and operations, interim waste and spent-fuel storage facilities, and access roads.

Plant make-up

"Each ABWR reactor is capable of producing approximately 1,350MWe of electricity, which is sufficient to power more than two million homes."

The power station will feature two Hitachi-GE UK ABWRs with a combined generating capacity of up to 2,700MW. The Generation III+ advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR) design incorporates safety features for enhanced reliability and are considered the world's most advanced reactors in commercial operation today.

The ABWRs operate as direct cycle reactors, which directly feed the turbine with the steam produced inside the reactor. Each ABWR reactor is capable of producing approximately 1,350MWe of electricity, which is sufficient to power more than two million homes. The anticipated operational life of the reactor is 60 years.

The UK ABWR reactor building will accommodate a reinforced concrete containment vessel, reactor pressure vessel (RPV), a steam dryer and a steam separator, fuel assembly, control rod, a reactor internal pump, a fine motion control rod drive system, a control rod drive mechanism handling machine and primary steam piping.

The heart of a nuclear power plant will be the RPV, whose bottom will be mounted with a reactor internal pump supplying coolant to the reactor core. The arrangement will avoid the need for external circulation pipes to minimise the potential radiation exposure for workers.