The U.K. government has selected an island off North Wales as its preferred site for the third nuclear power plant it aims to procure—a 3,000 MW giant that could cost $3 billion. The plant at Wylfa, on Anglesey, will follow the delayed 3,200-MW Hinkley Point C project now in construction and its twin, Sizewell C, which is set for final investment decision this summer.

Wylfa's 50-hectare site now hosts the last of 12 Magnox units using a magnesium alloy to contain uranium fuel built from the 1950s. The unit stopped generating in 2015 and now is being decommissioned. The site and another in England were acquired by the U.K's Great British Energy company from Japan's Hitachi Ltd.

Hitachi had bought both sites hoping to develop Advanced Boiling Water Reactor plants totaling 5,800 MW. But failing to secure a financial deal with the government, the company mothballed the projects in 2019, writing off nearly $2 billion of investment.

"Anglesey has a proud nuclear history and it is only right that, once again, it can play a central role in boosting the U.K.’s energy security," said Claire Coutinho, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero. 

Wylfa is part of Britain's ambition to build 24 GW of nuclear capacity with both conventional and small modular reactors by 2050.

Great British Energy "looks forward to working with the government on the market engagement program for large scale gigawatt providers and also delivering this vital project in the years to come," said CEO Gwen Parry-Jones. 

Korea Electric Power Corp. is reportedly among organizations interested in developing the Wylfa project, as are U.S. based nuclear developer Westinghouse linked wity Bechtel and French state power company EDF.

“Wylfa represents one of the best locations in the U.K. for large-scale reactors, from the geography to the existing infrastructure and nuclear heritage of the site," said Chris Conboy, regional nuclear and power sector managing director for AtkinsRéalis, formerly SNC Lavalin.

As interest in Wylfa emerges, the government also is on the hunt for investors to share the cost of the Sizewell C plant in England, which this month secured a conditional site license U.K. regulators. Site prep work has started, backed by $3 billion of government cash. Sizewell C was originally planned as a wholly private venture but the government became a majority shareholder after it bought out China General Nuclear Corp. in late 2022.

In a bid to diversify its nuclear portfolio, GBN is expecting six bidders to submit proposals for small modular reactor projects next month, including Rolls-Royce SMR, GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy International, EDF Energy, Holtec Britain Ltd., NuScale Power and Westinghouse Electric Co. 

"The ambition is to announce in spring 2024 which of the six companies the government will support, with contracts awarded by summer," the government said, aiming to negotiate deals to have plants in operation by the mid-2030s.