North West Wales

Welsh secretary David Jones visits Wylfa power station

The existing Wylfa plant on Anglesey
Image caption David Jones said there was still considerable

The UK Government's continued commitment to the nuclear industry has been restated by the new Welsh secretary, on his first official engagement.

David Jones said securing a new nuclear station, Wylfa B, on Anglesey was "critical" to his economic efforts.

He made his comments before touring the existing Wylfa station, which is due to end production by 2014.

Nuclear continued to play a vital role in the UK's "energy mix", he added.

Wylfa is set to continue generating electricity until the fuel runs out or September 2014, whichever comes first.

Speaking ahead of his visit Mr Jones said the government remains "firmly committed to its efforts to ensure that the conditions are right for investment in new nuclear power in Wales and the UK as a whole".

"Wylfa itself offers new players an excellent ready-made opportunity to enter that market.

"I have made it clear since coming into office as Secretary of State that my priority is to deliver economic growth for Wales.

"Securing a future for new nuclear at Wylfa is a critical part of this effort," he added.

'Investment opportunity'

The Horizon nuclear project - which includes Wylfa B - was put up for sale in March by German utilities RWE and E.ON.

RWE and E.ON had came under pressure from Germany's decision to phase out all nuclear power in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident in Japan.

In July it was announced the Areva group and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) group were to bid for the Horizon project, which includes Wylfa B.

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Media captionWelsh Secretary David Jones visits Wylfa power station, and confirms the UK government's commitment to the nuclear power industry.

"While RWE and E.ON's withdrawal was very disappointing, we should not see this as a sign that the UK's nuclear renaissance is under threat," said Mr Jones.

He added the Horizon site at Wylfa represented an "extremely attractive investment opportunity" and there remains considerable interest.

"We have everything to gain from investment in Wylfa.

"There is a great wealth of nuclear expertise and knowledge here that we want to maintain and use for the future.

"The opportunities are truly massive and I hope we can continue to build upon the real progress we have made so far."

Last month the Wylfa plant was given permission to move fuel between two reactors which will allow it to produce electricity for another two years.

Stuart Law, the site director at Wylfa, said he was grateful David Jones had visited the site at a "crucial time in Wylfa's lifecycle".

"We are currently working towards generating until September 2014 and welcome the opportunity to demonstrate to stakeholders our progress and the hard work and commitment put in by everyone here on site."

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