Anglesey nuclear reactor consultation attacked

Wylfa Newydd Image copyright Horizon Nuclear Power

Anti-nuclear campaigners have accused Natural Resources Wales of carrying out an "insulting" consultation over designs for a new reactor on Anglesey.

Hitachi-GE wants to build a new type of reactor at Wylfa, with a UK stakeholder meeting over the design held in Birmingham last month.

Wylfa opponents say a similar meeting run by NRW is not public - and only open to invited guests.

But NRW said it is holding a series of public drop-in sessions on the island.

However, the campaign group People Against Wylfa B (Pawb) described the individual meeting "for a small number of invitees" being held at the old Wylfa power plant site next Monday as "an affront to democracy".

"This is totally unacceptable. On a matter as important as this, it is an insult to the people of Ynys Môn (Anglesey) and north Wales," said Dylan Morgan, from Pawb.

"To add insult to injury, it is intended to hold the meeting in a room on the Wylfa Magnox site which is far from being a neutral venue and reinforces the perception that Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Government are dancing to the nuclear industry's tune."

The environmental agency described the meeting in question as a "technical" briefing for those unable to attend the Birmingham event, with about 100 invited to attend.

Image copyright Natural Resources Wales
Image caption Wylfa Newydd's new reactor - an artist's interpretation

The UK Government is currently carrying out consultations on what is known as the generic design assessment for the type of nuclear reactor that could be built at a new Wylfa power plant.

A UK first

The Japanese-American nuclear partners want to bring a new advanced boiling water reactor to the site and to the site at Oldbury in Gloucestershire.

It would be the first of its kind in the UK. A decision on the design is expected to be taken by UK ministers in December this year.

Pawb has now written to the Welsh Government's Environment Secretary Leslie Griffiths, asking her to intervene as the minister responsible for overseeing the work of NRW.

"We call on you to instruct Natural Resources Wales to rearrange a public meeting in a neutral, convenient and central location in Ynys Môn," stated Pawb.

"A meeting held to discuss the generic design assessment of the Hitachi ABWR has to be advertised openly and widely and not 'to a small number of invitees'."

Island consultation

However, NRW told BBC Wales that it is holding two public drop-in sessions about the design process on Anglesey next week - including an event at Cemaes on Monday and at Llangefni on Tuesday.

An NRW spokesperson added: "Public input is a very important element of the consultation about the design of the proposed reactor.

"There is an opportunity for lay people and experts to provide their comments at one of three sessions on Anglesey next week.

"A third session to discuss technical aspects of nuclear reactor design will be held at Wylfa on Monday evening - this is in addition to a UK-wide event held in Birmingham recently. It has been arranged specifically for people from Anglesey and beyond who were unable to attend the Birmingham event."

The body added that the location for the technical briefing at the current Wylfa site reflected its use as the regular venue for a public liaison group session.

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