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Byline: OWEN HUGHES Business Correspondent

A PS200m nuclear sector deal could give North Wales a triple economic boost that would create and retain hundreds of jobs.

The UK Government has revealed its blueprint for nuclear energy innovation and it makes good reading for the Welsh economy.

Under the plans a PS40 million thermal hydraulics facility would be built in North Wales in a partnership between the UK and Welsh governments - with Menai Science Park on Anglesey understood to be the preferred location.

It is part of the Nuclear Innovation Programme to support the design and development of advanced nuclear technologies and would create direct jobs at the facility and spin off roles on the island.

There is also up to PS44 million for research and development funding to support the development of Advanced Modular reactors - with Trawsfynydd tipped as one of the front-runners for one of the potential sites, bringing hundreds of new roles.

The emerging findings of an Expert Finance Working Group's analysis of small modular reactors suggest that the UK is well placed to develop projects, and that the characteristics of SMRs could attract private investment.

They said smaller reactors using light-water technology coupled with advanced modular manufacturing offer the potential for lower-cost nuclear power stations complementing the industry's existing plans for larger scale new nuclear power stations.

The Government has also launched a new review to look at ways to accelerate the clean-up of nuclear 'legacy' sites.

The Daily Post has previously revealed this was being considered and now Government has confirmed this is an option on the table.

It could see Trawsfynydd go into "continuous decommissioning" rather than putting the site into care and maintenance for 60 years.

This would mean that some of the existing 250 permanent and contracted jobs that are set to go over the next decade could be retained for years longer. The safety aspects of making this move will now be closely considered before any final decision.

The Government said the PS200m investment would spearhead Britain's move towards cleaner economic growth, while promoting new opportunities in the sector including a focus on innovation to develop the technology and skills needed to maintain the UK's position as one of the world's leading nuclear countries.

They say it will deliver up to 100,000 jobs overall in nuclear by 2021 and a significantly more diverse workforce with a target of 40% women in nuclear by 2030.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: "Nuclear energy not only fuels our power supply, it fuels local jobs, wages, economic prosperity and drives UK innovation.

"This Sector Deal marks an important moment for the Government and industry to work collectively to deliver the modern Industrial Strategy, drive clean growth and ensure civil nuclear remains an important part of the UK's energy future."

Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, said: "It is particularly apt that we are launching the UK Government's nuclear strategy at Trawsfynydd. This site reflects both the past of our nuclear industry and an exciting future as the potential site for the new generation of small reactors, placing Wales at the centre of a UK arc of the nuclear industry.

"Trawsfynydd is ready to be transformed with little upgrade needed to the grid infrastructure. It's in the right place with the right people and good links to leading academic research institutions in the nuclear sector.

"The kind of small reactor which could be sited in Trawsfynydd is set to usher in an era of costeffective power with equipment put together off site and transported to locations like this for relatively easy assembly. "I believe the UK Government strategy represents a road map which will drive innovation in the nuclear industry, create jobs and provide a significant boost to the local economy."

Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts said: "I welcome the announcement, and I particularly welcome the news that the launch was held at the decommissioned nuclear power station in Trawsfynydd. This is the first public indication the UK government is prepared to consider an on-going role for Trawsfynydd in safe, low carbon energy production.

"Many people will interpret this as an official sign that Trawsfynydd could be the site of advanced nuclear technology in future years."

| Trawsfynydd, main, and the new Menai Science Park, above, are set to be focal points for a major investment in nuclear power innovations
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 28, 2018
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