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New Nuclear Power Sites

Volume 735: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2023

4. What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on new nuclear power sites in Wales. (905719)

To continue the topic from the previous question, there are regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the potential for new nuclear in Wales. This Government are launching Great British Nuclear to support our ambition to ramp up nuclear capacity in the UK to up to 24 GW by 2050. GBN is actively working with the Government on access to potential sites for new nuclear projects.

Nuclear power has an important part to play in a balanced energy policy to provide energy security. Does my hon. Friend agree that Wylfa is an ideal site not only to continue generating nuclear power, but to expand beyond it, because the reality is that without improving and continuing that site, nuclear power has to come to Wales?

I agree with my hon. Friend. Wylfa is one of the best sites in this country, if not in Europe, for nuclear power generation due to its optimal location and geology. I am confident that the site’s potential to support our 24 GW target can be utilised. I know it is a site that GBN is very interested in.

Nuclear power is an excellent and much-needed source of power, but when demand for energy decreases, that power is often wasted. Has the Minister looked at any new Welsh nuclear power plants producing so-called pink hydrogen at times when electricity demands are low, so that we are not wasting that energy?

We recognise the important role of both nuclear energy and hydrogen in reaching our net zero goals. We are committed to a nuclear future for Wales and so far this year I have visited the Wylfa site and Bangor University’s Nuclear Futures Institute. My hon. Friend is right to mention the importance of storing energy effectively. Our 2021 hydrogen strategy laid out our intention to explore the use of electricity and heat from nuclear power stations to produce pink hydrogen.

Will the Minister confirm that there is not an approved small modular reactor design in the UK yet, so talking of installing SMRs at Wylfa and elsewhere is just fantasy?

The hon. Gentleman mentioned SMRs; I know Great British Nuclear is looking into the importance of those to our future net zero contributions and there will be sites, I hope, across the United Kingdom.