Almost half a million pounds will be spent on a new economic plan for North Anglesey.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has pledged £495,000 towards the county council’s bid to boost regeneration in the area.
The announcement comes in the wake of Hitachi’s decision to suspend Wylfa Newydd and the forthcoming closure of the REHAU plastics factory in Amlwch, where around a hundred jobs will go.
Meanwhile, the NDA’s chief executive David Peattie, said defueling work at the old Wylfa nuclear plant was now close to completion.
Almost all radioactive hazards will be removed from the site as part of the decommissioning process – but Mr Peattie said that would continue for years to come, requiring local skills.
The NDA said the funding for the council’s economic plan would form part of a package of measures aimed at boosting business activity, the supply chain and employment, increasing tourism, improving transport and infrastructure and reviving town centres.
Anglesey Council leader Llinos Medi said the plan aimed to respond to the challenges facing the north of the island by focusing their efforts on supporting those affected by the Wylfa Newydd and REHAU decisions.
She added: ”The plan was shaped by local residents and businesses as part of major consultation process…the significant funding provided by the NDA is welcomed and will enable us to progress some of the key priorities that have been identified locally to help regenerate North Anglesey.”
LISTEN: Llinos Medi addresses the NDA’s stakeholder summit in Llangefni
Around 200 delegates are meeting in Llangefni this week for a two-day summit held by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, including representatives from trade unions, regulators and campaign groups.
Among the topics being discussed are the controversial search to find a new disposal site for high activity radioactive waste and how decommissioning and cleaning work can be completed within the predicted timescale of over 100 years.
David Peattie said: ”We’re delighted to support the county council’s plan and look forward to working with the council and other partners as the initiatives take shape, bringing investment to the island and creating employment opportunities.”
”As a major employer in North Wales, we’re committed to supporting the surrounding communities, whose support is so vital to our work.”
LISTEN: Nuclear Decommissioning Authority CEO David Peattie, talking to MônFM’s Tony Jones
Reacting to the NDA’s funding announcement, a spokesperson for Horizon said they were still building the case for Wylfa Newydd locally and nationally, despite putting the project on hold.
They added: ”Our belief is that new nuclear is now more important than ever if we’re to meet the (UK) government’s net zero by 2050 commitment, which will require radical action to replace ageing power stations with modern, low-carbon sources of energy – with new nuclear as part of the mix.”
”Equally, Wylfa Newydd would carry significant socio-economic benefits for the region, working in tandem with the NDA’s support and breathing new life into Anglesey’s nuclear heritage and expertise. As a result, we’re focused on establishing the conditions that will allow for a project re-start in the future.”
Last week, it was revealed Horizon was also being put into a ‘suspended state’, after the Hitachi-owned firm reported pre-tax losses of £1.68 billion – including £127 million in costs for staff redundancies and winding up work.
In May, a Welsh Affairs Committee report urged Hitachi to sell the earmarked site for Wylfa Newydd if it doesn’t restart work.