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Wylfa Newydd – Our Role


Horizon is planning to develop a new nuclear power station on Anglesey.

The site is on land beside the former Magnox Wylfa Power Station, which is now being decommissioned.

Horizon aims to start generating electricity at Wylfa Newydd in the mid 2020s – with a minimum generating capacity of 3100 MW - enough to power around five million homes.

But before any of this can happen, there are several steps to be taken in terms of planning consent, nuclear site license and environmental permitting.

And this is where NRW, among others, has a role to play.

Our purpose is to ensure that the natural resources of Wales are sustainably maintained, enhanced and used.

At Wylfa Newydd we will do this in three ways:

  • Assessing the design of the reactors
  • Environmental Permitting and Marine Licensing
  • Providing expert advice to other organisations on decisions they need to make

Assessing the design of the reactors – Generic Design Assessment (GDA)

The design of the reactor proposed by Horizon – the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, or ABWR – has received Generic Design Assessment (GDA) approval in December 2017.

A detailed four-year-long programme, this partnership between NRW, the Environment Agency and the Office of Nuclear Regulation investigates and assesses the safety, security, environmental protection and waste management aspects of reactor designs.


Before the developer can build and operate a nuclear power station at Wylfa Newydd, it needs several permits from us.

We will carry out a thorough assessment of Horizon’s proposals to see if they contain sufficient safeguards to protect people and the environment before deciding whether to issue the permits or refuse the application.

We have already granted some permits to protect the environment for work that’s already been done, for example to allow limited tree felling, to use herbicide in a controlled manner, install monitoring equipment in watercourses and to conduct ground investigations at sea.

Horizon will provide us with detailed applications for six main permits. We will consult publicly on them all. They are:

Received in October 2017

  • Radioactive Substances – to demonstrate how Horizon will protect people and the environment by minimising the amount of radioactive waste it generates and discharges

Received on the 1st June 2018

We ran an initial consultation on these applications from 28th June to 6th September 2018. If we reach a draft decision, we expect to run a further consultation during 2019. Please note that a draft decision is not part of the marine licensing process.

  • Construction Water Discharge - to control and minimise the impact from site drainage and contaminated water during the main construction period. For example, this could include discharges of rainfall runoff and discharges from a sewerage system
  • Marine licencing – this is required for any work that involves building, removing and disposing of materials below the high-water mark. This includes features such as breakwaters, a facility to off-load cargo from ships (MOLF – marine off-loading facility) or marine dredging
  • Cooling water discharge – to minimise the environmental effect of abstracting sea water to cool the plant’s systems and of discharging it (warmer and with some chemicals) back into the sea
  • Combustion installation – to make sure that emergency back-up generators and boilers have measures to protect the local environment

Expected in late 2018

  • Abstraction – during construction, Horizon will need to reduce groundwater levels by pumping water from the ground. As a result, they will submit an abstraction license application so we can consider the impact on the local environment

Planning Advice

Our role also involves providing expert advice to other organisations on decisions they need to make.

Planning permission for the new power station will be decided by the Secretary of State, which will also include the main associated developments linked to the project. Anglesey County Council is the decision maker for the improvements to the A5025 from Wylfa to Valley and the early site preparation and clearance activities.

We will provide specialist advice to these organisations on how to protect and improve the environment on several aspects.

Contact Us - for more information –

Related document downloads

Our role at Wylfa Newydd PDF [370.7 KB]
How to Have your Say PDF [107.9 KB]

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