North West Wales

600 jobs hope for old Trawsfynydd nuclear power site

The decommissioned power station at Trawsfynydd Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The nuclear power station at Trawsfynydd was decommissioned in 1991

Up to 600 jobs could be created if the UK government locates a small nuclear reactor at a decommissioned Gwynedd power station, it has been claimed.

Snowdonia Enterprise Zone chairman John Idris Jones is to address a government-sponsored conference on Monday as the Trawsfynydd site could be considered.

The small reactors, used on nuclear submarines, are cheaper and generate as much power as the old reactors.

Opponents claim the "experimental" technology is still untested.

They also insist sites such as Trawsfynydd are only proposed due to their remote location and small population.

"I would hope that Trawsfynydd will be one of the main sites for this type of reactor," Mr Jones told the Newyddion 9 programme.

"We have all the necessary resources, the lake for cooling water, we have connections to the national grid and we have an educated local workforce.

Image caption The £103m nuclear power station at Trawsfynydd was in operation between 1965 and 1991

"If the 300 mega watt reactor was built there that would lead to 300 jobs as well as 300 associated jobs in the local area."

The Trawsfynydd site, the UK's only inland nuclear power station, was mothballed in 1991 after 26 years in operation.

But Deilwen Evans of anti-nuclear group CADNO warned: "It is always the case that we accept jobs that imperil the community or do we go for jobs at any cost?

"Maybe 'small nuclear reactor' gives the impression that these are safer but they are totally experimental and totally new so we have nothing to go on apart from their say so.

"My concern is they have not been tried or tested.

"I don't believe in nuclear power because of the waste it makes and I believe there should be a public inquiry into the health effects of the last power station in this area."

As nuclear power stations become larger and more expensive, it is difficult to finance projects such as the £18bn Hinckley C nuclear power station in Somerset.

Some in the nuclear industry believe the future lies with smaller reactors, which will be under discussion at Monday's conference in London.

NuScale Power, an American company that designs and markets small modular reactors, hope to build a small-scale nuclear reactor by the mid 2020s in the United States.

But it could be as late as 2030 when the first small scale reactor is up and running in the UK.

The UK government has invited companies, including Rolls Royce, to submit designs for small-scale reactors and it is expected that further policy announcements to be announced in the coming year.

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