The UK Planning Inspectorate said on 29 June that it had accepted Hitachi unit Horizon Nuclear Power’s application for the Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant in Wales. 

Horizon, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi, plans to build and operate two advanced boiling water reactors (ABWRs) adjacent to the Wylfa A nuclear plant, on the Isle of Anglesey. The station is expected to start operating in the mid-2020s, if the project goes ahead.

“We have considered very carefully the application submitted by Horizon Nuclear Power and decided that it meets the required tests set out in the legislation to be accepted for examination,” said Sarah Richards, CEO of the Planning Inspectorate. "Acceptance of the application simply means that the Examining Authority can begin to make arrangements for the formal examination of the application."

Horizon’s 41,000-page Development Consent Order (DCO) was submitted at the beginning of June and was subject to a statutory 28-day period of review by the Planning Inspectorate to ensure it met the standards required. The Development Consent Order process will now formally begin with the pre-examination phase, in which members of the public can become an interested party. An Examining Authority is also appointed at this stage and the interested parties will be invited to attend a preliminary meeting.
Horizon CEO Duncan Hawthorne described the news as a "significant milestone for Horizon and an important step on the path to having all the permissions we need to build Wylfa.” 

Horizon has already applied for to the Office of Nuclear Regulation for a site licence, and the European Commission has given a 'positive opinion' that the project will not have significant health or environmental impacts on other member states. In addition, four other key environmental permits have been cleared to begin their assessment by Natural Resources Wales (NRW). Horizon’s application for a Marine Licence, Operations Combustion permit, Operations Water Discharge permit and Construction Water Discharge permit were “duly made” by NRW and have now progressed to the next stage which involves a public consultation process.

Earlier in June the UK government also confirmed it would consider investing in the Wylfa Newydd project

Photo: Artists' impression of Wylfa Newydd