Wylfa Newydd receives key European Approval

Horizon Nuclear Power has been granted a key European environmental approval for its lead new build development, Wylfa Newydd.

The plans for the two-reactor project on Anglesey, North Wales, received a positive ‘Opinion’ from the European Commission under Article 37 of the Euratom Treaty which stated that the station will not have significant health or environmental impacts on other Member States.

The submission to the Commission, which was made by the UK Government as the host nation for the project, set out how Horizon’s planned safety and containment measures will ensure that the disposal of radioactive waste from the power station will not result in material contamination for any other EU countries.

It was assessed against routine operations, decommissioning and spent fuel storage, as well as in the highly unlikely event of accidental release, and found to be in full compliance with European safety standards under all scenarios.

Duncan Hawthorne, CEO at Horizon, said: “Approval under Article 37 is another key project milestone for Wylfa Newydd and one that adds to the significant momentum now behind 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. 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.”

As well as being an important approval in its own right, the Article 37 positive Opinion is also a crucial enabler for one of the key domestic environmental permits Horizon requires for Wylfa Newydd.

Under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016, the environmental regulator in Wales, Natural Resources Wales, requires a positive Opinion under Article 37 before it can complete its determination of Horizon’s Environmental Permit to cover its radioactive substances activities. Horizon submitted its application for this Environmental Permit in October 2017, at the same time as the Article 37 submission was made to the Commission.   

The approval follows the recent submission of Horizon’s main planning permission, the Development Consent Order, comprising some 41,000 pages on all aspects of the project.

It also comes after the Ministerial Statement made to the House of Commons by Rt. Hon. Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy confirming that Wylfa Newydd is the next project in the UK’s nuclear new build programme and announcing the commencement of formal negotiations between Horizon and the UK Government on financing support for the project.

For more information, please contact the Horizon press office:

01242 507700


Notes to editors

About Horizon Nuclear Power

Horizon Nuclear Power was formed in 2009 to develop new nuclear power stations in the UK. It was acquired by Hitachi, Ltd. in November 2012. The company is developing plans to build at least 5,400MW of new nuclear power generation plant at Wylfa on the Isle of Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire. Its power station sites will employ up to 850 people each once operational with construction workforces of up to 9,000.

About Article 37

Article 37 of the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (the ‘Euratom Treaty’) states that:

“Each Member State shall provide the Commission with such general data relating to any plan for the disposal of radioactive waste in whatever forms will make it possible to determine whether the implementation of such plan is liable to result in the radioactive contamination of the water, soil or airspace of another Member State.”

The Commission appointed a group of scientific and public health experts to consider the submission before reaching their conclusions. The key passage from the European Commission’s positive Opinion is below and the full text can be read here.

“In conclusion, the Commission is of the opinion that the implementation of the plan for the disposal of radioactive waste in whatever form, arising from the two UK-ABWR reactors of the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station, located in Wales, United Kingdom, both in normal operation and in the event of accidents of the type and associated magnitudes of unplanned releases of radioactive effluents as considered in the General Data, is not liable to result in a radioactive contamination, significant from the point of view of health, of the water, soil or airspace of another Member State, in respect of the provisions laid down in the Basic Safety Standards Directive.”