GBN buys Wylfa and Oldbury development sites

By 7 March 2024 Industry news

Great British Nuclear has confirmed it is buying the Wylfa and Oldbury development sites previously owned by Horizon Nuclear Power.

Wylfa on Ynys Mon (Anglesey) and Oldbury-on Severn in Gloucestershire are both government-designated development sites for new nuclear power plant. Horizon Nuclear Power proposed to build two Hitachi-GE ABWRs at each site, but the Hitachi-owned vendor suspended development in 2019.

As announced in the Budget statement, the government has now reached agreement on a £160 million deal with Hitachi to purchase the two sites. No decisions have yet been made on projects.

“These two sites at Wylfa and Oldbury have tremendous potential and present a significant opportunity for Britain and for local communities,” said Gwen Parry-Jones, chief executive of Great British Nuclear (GBN).

“Each location has a long history of hosting the UK nuclear industry and has experienced the enormous benefits that nuclear power can bring to their local and regional economies. We deeply appreciate Hitachi’s development of these sites and their work to date was one of the reasons why they were so attractive to us.”

GBN will work closely with Hitachi’s local representatives to ensure a streamlined approach to continuing site management and a local contact point. GBN will also launch a project website, hold public meetings, and form community forums in Wylfa and Oldbury.

GBN has gave an update on its ongoing process to select small modular reactor (SMR) technologies for UK development. All six shortlisted companies can now access tender documentation, allowing them to bid for multi-billion-pound technology development contracts.

The six developers are EDF, GE Hitachi, Holtec Britain, NuScale Power, Rolls-Royce SMR and Westinghouse. All have until June 2024 to submit their tender responses.

GBN will assess the submissions and negotiate final contracts, with successful bidders announced later this year. The chosen technologies will be allocated sites – potentially including Wylfa and Oldbury – and incorporated into projects, with companies receiving further funding to develop their technology.

“We welcome the steady progress being made in building new nuclear capability in the UK and continued commitment to the SMR process,” commented Chris Pook, government policy director at the Nuclear AMRC. “The Budget announcement that the government has reached an agreement with Hitachi to purchase sites at Wylfa and Oldbury is great news for Wales and for the industry, unlocking future development at these sites.”