Developers of a new £10bn nuclear power station on Anglesey have unveiled a more compact design.
Horizon Nuclear Power has launched a third formal consultation on its Wylfa Newydd plans, including 17 public meetings and drop-ins.
The main power station would take up a smaller area, with more buildings shared between the twin reactors.
Horizon hopes to submit a planning application, known as a development consent order, later this year.
It also confirmed an accommodation campus for temporary staff would be located at the construction site near Cemaes.
Developers had been in long-running discussions with Land and Lakes, the firm behind a £120m holiday village proposal, over accommodating temporary staff at their Cae Glas and Kingsland locations.
Instead, it has proposed a single “carefully managed” campus for construction workers on site, with about 2,500 beds and the capacity for 4,000.
It will include leisure, shopping and health facilities to ease the burden on public services.
But Gareth Winston Roberts, chairman of Amlwch Town Council, questioned what benefit it would bring to the local economy.
“There must be benefit for the people of north Anglesey as well as the company,” he said.
Other changes include:
- Fewer construction workers – down from about 10,000 to as few as 8,350
- An investment programme for the island’s five secondary schools to improve science and technology facilities
- Funding for a programme for new affordable housing, initially around the power station and nearby Amlwch
- A Welsh language and culture coordinator so it “remains at the heart” of the development
- Supporting an employment and skills service “to signpost people from across the region” to jobs on the project
- 80% of building materials will arrive via a special harbour which Horizon will build to avoid congestion on roads
Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive of Horizon Nuclear Power, said: “The changes we’re proposing will enable us to streamline our construction schedule, reduce the number of construction workers we need to bring in and temporarily house, and cut the number of development sites we need.”
When operational, Wylfa Newydd is expected to create 850 permanent jobs and Horizon hopes to start generating power by 2025.
It is estimated this could be worth more than £20m a year in wages alone to the local economy throughout the 60-year life of the station.
The company will share its updated plans at public exhibitions across the region, starting on 27 May at Llangefni Town Hall.
This is the third and final consultation before the development consent order is submitted to the UK Planning Inspectorate and runs until 22 June.
The station will have a capacity of at least 2,700 megawatts of electricity, enough power for about five million homes.
However a final go-ahead will require a successful outcome to discussions with the next UK government over an agreed price for the electricity generated from the scheme – known as a strike price.
A report by the Welsh Affairs committee said last year the government should only commit to Wylfa Newydd if the strike price is below that agreed for the Hinkley Point C in Somerset, £92.50 per megawatt hour.
The old Wylfa plant stopped generating electricity after 50 years at the end of 2015.
WHAT PARTY MANIFESTOS SAY ABOUT NUCLEAR POWER
CONSERVATIVES: We will form our energy policy based not on the way energy is generated but on the ends we desire – reliable and affordable energy, seizing the industrial opportunity that new technology presents and meeting our global commitments on climate change.
LABOUR: Nuclear will continue to be part of the energy supply. The Labour Party will support further nuclear projects and protect nuclear workers’ jobs and pensions. There are considerable opportunities for nuclear power and decommissioning both internationally and domestically.
LIB DEMS: New nuclear power stations can play a role in electricity supply provided concerns about safety, disposal of waste and cost are adequately addressed, new technology is incorporated and there is no public subsidy for new build.
PLAID CYMRU: The party said it was anxious to ensure there was a long-term legacy from Wylfa Newydd and the other energy projects proposed for the island: “These are really exciting opportunities.”
UKIP: The party supports the development of nuclear power in the United Kingdom subject to the correct conditions. “We are monitoring the ongoing consultation on the Wylfa Newydd site.”