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The UK's next nuclear power plant could be built on the island of Anglesey by 2020.

Horizon Nuclear Power says it will apply for planning consent in 2012 to build a reactor on the island to produce up to 3,300Mw of electricity. Wylfa, the existing nuclear plant, will be decommissioned in December.

 Wylfa would be one of the first of the new generation of new build nuclear power stations but there are other plans being developed by other companies around the UK. As far as RWE npower and E.on are concerned, this is the one they want to move forward with first ahead of, interestingly, Oldbury-on-Severn which is just over the border from Wales.

It does not mean the bulldozers will be moving in fairly soon as the planning application will not go forward until 2012. It is, if you like, a significant piece of the jigsaw. There is still another hurdle - the UK government needs to give permission for it to happen before it can actually start. "This will bring a degree of hope for the people of Anglesey in terms of secure employment both during the construction phase and during the 60 years or so of the life of a new reactor at Wylfa."

He said the development was similar to "a little village winning the right to hold the Olympics", and the council would need to look at road and communication links and housing. Environmental charity Greenpeace said nuclear power remained "eye-wateringly expensive" and there was "no solution to dealing with nuclear waste".

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is conducting a 15-week consultation about the proposals. The current Wylfa power station has permission to continue electricity production until December 2010. The island's council estimates that the development could bring £8bn into the local economy.

Horizon Nuclear Power said a new nuclear station could deliver up to 800 high quality permanent jobs, rising to 1,000 during maintenance and up to 5,000 jobs during construction. The Welsh Assembly Government remains opposed to new nuclear plants in Wales despite the approval of Wylfa as a potential site. Anglesey Aluminium ended smelting operations on the island last year, with the loss of almost 400 jobs. The land at Wylfa, near Cemaes Bay, was acquired by Horizon from the Nuclear Decommission Authority in May 2008.

Alan Smith, Horizon's Wylfa project manager, said the plant "would make a vital contribution to meeting the country's energy needs and tackling the challenge of climate change". Dylan Morgan,of campaign group People Against Wylfa B, said nuclear power was a "failed 20th Century technology". He said a plant would create nuclear waste that was "twice as radioactive" as materials created by current nuclear energy sites.

He said: "The [UK] government has no idea what to with nuclear waste generated over the last 50 years, let alone waste from any new reactor." He said the government had admitted that waste from a plant like Wylfa B would have to be kept in "so-called interim storage" on the site where it was produced. A protest will be held on Wednesday to demonstrate the traffic problems the island already faces, and highlight the impact this would have if people had to be evacuated because of an accident at the proposed reactor.

 
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