Hybrid power plant plan puts Wylfa back on the energy agenda 

Posted: January 23, 2021 by oldbrew in Energy, hydrogen, Nuclear power, wind

NuScale reactor (SMR) design [credit:
NuScale / Wikipedia –
click on image to enlarge]

All part of looking to invent a hydrogen power market in the UK, to help solve problems that are only known to exist in failing climate models.
– – –
Combining wind power with a nuclear small modular reactor (SMR) could see energy production re-start at Wylfa in North Wales by late 2027 under plans presented by Shearwater Energy, says New Civil Engineer.

Shearwater has said that the proposal would involve construction of a wind-SMR and hydrogen production hybrid energy project, which it says would be located on a different site to the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station, planned by Horizon, that stalled when Hitachi pulled support last year.

The Shearwater plant could provide 3GW of zero carbon energy and is also expected to produce over 3M.kg of green hydrogen per year for use by the UK’s transport sector.

The firm has signed a memorandum of understanding with US power business NuScale to develop the SMR solution for the site, which Shearwater has said could be delivered for less than £8bn.

Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit head of analysis Jonathan Marshall welcomed the news that plans were being developed for use of SMRs in the UK. “If SMRs are going to be trialled anywhere in Britain, Wylfa would be as good place as any to start,” he said. “A nuclear-skilled workforce, the right grid connections, and historic local acceptance of energy infrastructure all favour trials on Anglesey.

“Getting a project up-and-running would also allow long-touted claims of low costs and quick build rates to be put to the test. The nuclear industry for years has been plugging SMRs as the next big thing, actually building them would allow the rest of us to see how accurate these claims are.”

According to Shearwater, the Wylfa concept is part of an outline proposal submitted to government and the devolved governments of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, “all of whom stand to derive considerable economic benefits in connection with the proposed project”.

Shearwater has described the Wylfa element of the plan as a “flagship opportunity” for combining SMR technology, offshore wind energy and hydrogen production in the UK.

Full article here.

  1. Gamecock says:

    ‘expected to produce over 3M.kg of green hydrogen per year for use by the UK’s transport sector’

    The transport sector called. They don’t want it.

    ‘The firm has signed a memorandum of understanding with US power business NuScale to develop the SMR solution for the site’

    WTF ??? This is completely ****ing nuts! For YEARS, we’ve been plastered over with press releases about RR’s development of an SMR.

    ‘which Shearwater has said could be delivered for less than £8bn.’

    Which completely obviates the reason for SMRs. If you can’t make an SMR for £1bn, don’t bother.

  2. tom0mason says:

    Combining wind power with a nuclear small modular reactor (SMR) could see an over-engineered and under powered waste of money. Spend all the money (including the wind subsidy) on a proper all nuclear option instead of fiddle-faddling about with unreliable glorified windmills.

  3. I wish people wouldn’t say 3GW of energy. What is the installed power in GW and what is the annual energy production in GWh? One might have thought that ‘New Civil Engineer’ would know the difference between power and energy, but apparently not. If they cannot understand the basics, what chance the rest of the article making sense?

  4. Graeme No.3 says:

    Ah, but Phillip. he included the magic words “Hydrogen power”. It is being frantically promoted by the Greens as the “answer to the question” that no-one has asked.
    I remember reading about “the hydrogen economy” in the early nineties, indeed even bought a book on it which I gave away years ago, It has come back (for the third time) as the answer to every question except “why the hell?”
    Try, if you would like a laugh, to look up the Lavo system for storage of household solar power developed by a University (name suppressed to protect the stupid) as hydrogen. 35% efficiency with 60% (max.) conversion to electricity for a mere £20,000 (plus extras).

  5. oldbrew says:

    Fake problems attract fake solutions, as long as someone is paying.

  6. pochas94 says:

    I’m against hydrogen. Unless it makes economic sense. But assuming we eventually transition to nuclear and use off peak power to produce hydrogen, the cost of hydrogen goes to fuel cost, which with nuclear is practically zip.

  7. ivan says:

    It would help if those proposing this public money grab went back to first principles and just went ahead with RR SMRs and dumped all the other cr*p as unnecessary expenditure since the SMR is totally green even though the greens won’t admit it.

    Doing that should cut 7.5bn off the cost and keep it in the UK.

  8. Stuart Brown says:

    Who are Shearwater Energy? Their website looks like a 4 bod and a dog PR agency.


    Anyway, Nuscale will be lucky to have a working SMR in the UK by 2027, given that the first example is likely to be in the US in 2029! So this is a windfarm then, with an option to bolt on the nuke later.

  9. oldbrew says:

    NuScale plan for its first SMR in the US:

    NRC review of the COLA is expected to be completed by the second half of 2025, with nuclear construction of the project beginning shortly thereafter.


  10. Stuart Brown says:

    Thanks OB. Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) is the other partner in the Combined License Application (COLA). From NuScales web site:


    “UAMPS is currently active on the CFPP site performing site characterization activities. Pending finalization of those activities and the development of a schedule reflective of UAMPS’ recent decision to use “dry cooling”, UAMPS has requested that NuScale work to the following schedule:

    First module expected to be operational by mid-2029, with the remaining 11 modules to come online for full plant operation by 2030.”

    If they can pull off building the very first plant in just 4 years that will be impressive, but maybe they can. Still not going to be shipping power from one on Anglesey by 2027.

  11. Gamecock says:

    “If they can pull off building the very first plant in just 4 years that will be impressive, but maybe they can.”

    If it takes 4 years to build it, it ain’t ‘modular.’

  12. oldbrew says:

    Presumably, or in theory, once the first one is tested and established the rest can be churned out as copies, whether for the US/UK or anywhere else. If they’re all the 77 MW version that’s quite small, but easier to transport.

  13. pochas94 says:

    A nice feature of the SMR is that you have a line of them. You don’t have to take your 1,000 MW offline all at once for refueling. You can rotate refueling through the line of reactors and keep most of them in service.

  14. Gamecock says:

    “A nice feature of the SMR is that you have a line of them.”

    At £8bn per?

  15. Stuart Brown says:

    NuScale reckon $3,466/kW for a 924MW plant (12 SMRs) and a 36 month build from pouring the safety concrete. So, to avoid any confusion over billions – that’s $3200 million for the lot. Weirdly specific numbers. I guess we’ll see, won’t we? I’d really like to see this or any SMR built.

    My point really was that Shearwater (whoever they are) won’t have a nuclear plant at Wylfa by 2027. If power is coming from there it will be from wind.

    But – just to add… Originally about a quarter of the power of the 2 Magnox plants at Wylfa (960MW) went to an aluminium refinery that isn’t there any more. Anglesey isn’t that big, and stuck off the coast of North Wales where there isn’t anything. They propose to build this next to the original site – ie not where Eon/EdF/Horizon wanted to build 3GW of… nuclear whatever. So both plans could happen potentially. Either plan would need extra infrastructure dragging through the Menai strait just to get it off the island. Both bridges are listed buildings and the nearest point on the island is listed as an area of outstanding natural beauty.

    I know we need more dependable power in the UK, but why there? Supposedly SMRs can be built closer to the demand, so why not build it in Ellesmere Port, 70 miles away? That’s not beautiful!

  16. oldbrew says:

    Nuclear power plants use a lot of water so need to be very near a coast, lake, river or similar. One SMR might not use a lot, but being modular implies several at a site.

  17. dscott says:

    It’s a foolish application of SMR technology. Why not just make electricity directly and use any excess heat for district heating of communities? There is a real world application in use for decades by Iceland using geothermal which could very easily be substituted with a SMR.

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