The European Commission has granted environmental approval for the proposed new nuclear power plant at Wylfa Newydd.
Developers Horizon say its plans to build two new reactors were given a positive reaction from Brussels following an assessment. The approval, under the Euartom Treaty, means the EC does not believe Wylfa Newydd will have significant health or environmental impact on other member states.
Earlier this month, Business Secretary Greg Clark announced the UK Government had begun talks with Horizon’s owners Hitachi and will consider whether to commit public money for the £12 billion plant.
But Horizon still need domestic permits from Natural Resources Wales and approval from the UK Government before they can press ahead.
CEO Duncan Hawthorne said the approval under Article 37 was ”another key milestone” for the project: ”Ensuring the safe operations of our power stations will always be our first and overriding priority and to get this approval – following a very thorough and detailed assessment by the Commission – is another confirmation that we are putting robust plans in place to do just this.”
Horizon’s submission, presented on its behalf by the UK, was assessed against routine operations, decommissioning and spent fuel storage, as well as the possibility of accidental release.
The commission decided the plans were in full compliance with European safety standards in every scenario. According to Horizon, their assessment set out planned safety and containment measures to ensure disposing radioactive waste would not lead to material contamination.
The approval will also help with their application for an domestic environmental permit from NRW – but the ultimate decision on whether it will go ahead lies with the Business Secretary at Westminster.
Duncan Hawthorne added: ”We will now continue to work with the environmental regulator in Wales to take this clearance forward for the domestic permits Wylfa Newydd also requires.”
At the start of the month, Horizon submitted its 41,000 page application for planning permission – including over 440 documents and 400 drawings laying out the Wylfa Newydd development.
A decision on planing permission is expected by the start of 2020. Up to 8,500 construction jobs could be created if the project goes ahead.