Cwmni Egino, the company proposing to develop the former nuclear power station in Trawsfynydd in Wales, says it has completed its first phase of development work, confirming the viability of deploying small modular reactors (SMRs) at the site. Cwmni Egino was set up in 2021 to progress potential new projects and provide economic opportunities for north west Wales. The Trawsfynydd site, owned by the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), could be suitable for a range of SMR technologies with the potential to generate up to 1 GW of electricity, the company notes.

SMRs at Trawsfynydd could create over 400 long-term local jobs and thousands of additional jobs during the construction stage, as well as through the Welsh and UK supply chains. They could also contribute £600m to the north west Wales economy and £1.3bn to the whole of Wales over an operational life of 60 years.

Cwmni Egino hopes to be the first SMR project approved by the UK Government with construction starting before the end of the decade. Welsh Members of Parliament have expressed concern about the future of nuclear energy developments in Wales. The Welsh Affairs Committee, which consists of MPs from various parties in Wales, said they believed new nuclear could be a "game-changer" for the north Wales economy. However, the report found that there were "major obstacles" before sites such as Wylfa on Anglesey could be home to a gigawatt-scale plant.

Alan Raymant, CEO of Cwmni Egino said: "In addition to meeting our energy needs and net zero targets, deploying SMRs at Trawsfynydd offers a huge inward investment opportunity for Wales. This is aligned with key policies and priorities of both the UK and Welsh governments. We believe that Trawsfynydd presents the first, most credible opportunity to kick start a long-term programme of SMR projects in the UK, and catalyse significant economic growth locally, regionally and nationally.”

He added: “Cwmni Egino provides a development vehicle to drive this forward. Our plans are more advanced than other sites suited to small scale nuclear, and the work we’ve done over the past 12 months gives us added confidence that we can successfully deliver a project at Trawsfynydd."

Cwmni Egino has not yet selected a technology partner for the project, and wants to work with Great British Nuclear (GBN), recently set up by the UK government to lead the UK SMR technology competition. "We’ve already been in discussions with a number of technology providers and there is significant interest in deploying SMR at Trawsfynydd,” Rayment said. “The other key area of focus for us now is to secure government commitment to the next phase of the project. In particular, we need confirmation that Trawsfynydd is one of the projects GBN wants to be developed. This will give us the certainty that we need to unlock this opportunity and access additional development funding."

Tom Greatrex, CEO of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: "Small Modular Reactors will have a potentially vital part to play in providing clean energy for Wales and the rest of the UK, powering homes and industries in communities up and down the country. It's important that organisations like Cwmni Egino are given the right support so new nuclear projects can mature."

Image: The decommissioned Trawfynydd nuclear site in Gwynedd, Wales (courtesy of Daily Post Wales)