Press release

Wylfa Newydd development reaches key milestone

Assessment of UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor moves to next phase

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Wylfa Power Station

The proposed development of new nuclear on Anglesey has reached another key milestone, said the Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones today (6 January), as it was announced that the assessment of a cutting-edge nuclear reactor has progressed to the next phase.

The UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (UK ABWR) is currently proposed for use at the site of Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire. The process forms a critical part of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) currently underway to ensure that the reactor meets rigorous safety standards.

Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones has marked the announcement as a significant step forward for the Wylfa Newydd development which is set to form the centrepiece of Anglesey’s Energy Island.

Mr Jones said:

The importance I personally place in the development of new nuclear at Wylfa Newydd, and the commitment of this Government to a future for nuclear in the UK is steadfast.

However, it is absolutely right that the proposed design of any reactor to be constructed in this country is subjected to stringent safety assessments led by the independent regulators. I am delighted to see that this process is moving along to the second stage of assessment.

Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy has marked the announcement with the launch of a new website dedicated to explaining the reactor technology and inviting comments on the design as part of a public and stakeholder engagement programme.

The Japanese giant has already laid out its initial approach to engaging local suppliers and training local workers, working with Horizon Nuclear Power to deliver a lasting economic legacy in North Wales.

During his trade mission to Asia in March 2013, the Secretary of State visited Hitachi City in Tokyo to hear how plans to build the new plants were progressing.

Mr Jones visited Ohma nuclear power plant which is currently under construction. Here, he met with the owners and operators, J-Power who escorted him on a tour of the site where he was able to see first hand the construction of an advanced boiling water reactor.

During the visit, Mr Jones also took the opportunity to discuss the wealth of supply chain opportunities for UK companies during the construction phase of the planned nuclear reactors.

He added:

Anglesey already has many advantages in relation to new nuclear build, both in terms of the excellent skills of the existing Wylfa workforce, and in the enthusiasm of the young apprentices at Coleg Menai’s Energy Centre in Llangefni.

The benefits which local businesses, and businesses across Wales, can derive from the investment that Hitachi-GE is making in the UK are limitless. The company has already said that it expects that around 60% of the supply chain involved in building the nuclear power stations will be UK companies.

Welsh businesses must now be ready to seize the tremendous opportunities presented by Wylfa Newydd and use the experience they will gain to springboard into other markets.


  • Hitachi-GE’s investment in new nuclear is expected to bring between 5,000 and 6,000 construction jobs to North Wales , as well as up to 1,000 well paid, high quality employment opportunities once the site is operational.

  • In January 2013, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) asked the nuclear regulators to begin formal discussions with Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd., (Hitachi-GE) regarding the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) of the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR).

  • A Generic Design Assessment (GDA) is being carried out on the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, the most modern nuclear reactor design currently in commercial operation anywhere in the world. Four ABWRs have already been built in Japan, and a further three are under construction in Japan and Taiwan.

  • The Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process is conducted jointly by the Office for Nuclear regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA). The process is completed with the issue of a Design Acceptance Confirmation (DAC) and Statement of Design Acceptability (SODA).

  • The website gives and overview of the reactor design and outlines some of its key features. The site gives the opportunity for submission of comments or questions on the design of the reactor, or on the submissions which Hitachi-GE has made to the regulators.

Published 6 January 2014