Written evidence by Rory Trappe, Magnox and Prospect Union Representative (retired), Trawsfynydd site

Written evidence supporting further developments at the Trawsfynydd site




1. Trawsfynydd Site is located in North Wales and is within the Snowdonia

National Park. The power station generated electricity from 1965 - 1991. The

mission for us now is to achieve the safe and compliant delivery of the site into

Care and Maintenance (C&M) by December 2028.


2. The height reduction of both reactor buildings will take place between 2020 -

2026, with final site clearance commencing in 2078.

There has been significant decommissioning progress at the site, including:

  1. Retrieval and packaging of ILW for storage in the sites operational ILW



  1. Major structural modifications to the reactor buildings in preparation for height reduction
  2. Bulk retrievals and solidification of resins
  3. Significant progress on the retrieval of ILW from various vaults and tanks


3.The focus now is to safely retrieve and package the remaining ILW on site.

There are no current plans to have any form of power generation or industry

at the site post decommissioning. The site is of strategic value and should be

seen as a valuable asset to the local and UK economy.


4. I have worked in the nuclear industry for forty years both on generation and

decommissioning. In addition to my working role I was also a Prospect union

representative. As a representative it has also included involvement in the Socio

economic impact for the area and any future opportunities for the Trawsfynydd

site. During the process it became apparent that the obvious choice for the site

would be future power generation on the form of an SMR. I welcome the

opportunity that you have provided to present written evidence in support of a

Small Modular Reactor (SMR) at the Trawsfynydd site.


What are the potential benefits and risks from the deployment of

SMR’s in the UK and more widely?


5. We have an opportunity to place SMR’s on previously used Magnox sites

such as Trawsfynydd where there is an existing grid connection, a nuclear site

licence and established services such as cooling water from a large lake adjacent

to the site. The workforce is highly experienced and adaptable. They have seen

the site go from generation to defueling and are now in the process of



6. Deploying SMR’s would be beneficial to the communities surrounding the

existing Magnox sites. The early Magnox reactors were constructed in sparsely

populated remote areas of the UK. As a result of this the local communities

expanded and became dependent on the nuclear power stations as major

employers. As they are closing and being decommissioned it is evident that the

communities are suffering in terms of good quality skilled and well paid jobs. By

deploying SMR’s at these locations it would prove to be a huge boost for the

communities and secure long term jobs for decades to come. An SMR would

benefit local schools, technical colleges and universities with generations to

come having an opportunity to take up apprenticeship’s or engineering degrees

to work at the sites. For the staff and contractors at Trawsfynydd there may be

an opportunities to utilise the training facilities set up for the Wylfa Newydd

Nuclear power station. These facilities are geographically close to each site.

The risk of not doing this would be to rely on the large scale projects to

provide power to the UK on base load and having to rely on other less reliable

sources of power such as wind. SMR’s would complement and provide the UK

with another diverse source of energy and if constructed across the country

would help maintain grid stability and balance.


7. Initial studies have indicated that the Trawsfynydd site is capable of

supporting an SMR with an output estimated at 720 MWe compared to the

Magnox reactor on the site which had an output of 480 MWe with no significant

modification to the existing infrastructure. It is estimated that an SMR has a

forty to fifty year lifecycle with potential for going beyond that. One benefit of

that would be stability in the local economy.


What is the scale of the global market opportunities for SMR’s? What

would the cost be if the UK does not take full advantage of the

opportunities of SMR’s?


8. If a UK designed and built SMR’s were chosen, then it would prove to be a

unique opportunity and boost for the long-term future for the nuclear industry.

Post Brexit, where we have to rely on exporting our products globally it would

put the country back on the industrial map. The demand for a proven, reliable

and affordable SMR is the key to the export market. Do not consider SMR’s just

for power generation for domestic and industrial use, they can also be utilised on

desalination plants across the globe.


9. Globally there is a lot of interest in SMR’s as they can be constructed with a

short lead time where the majority of the work is carried out in a controlled

environment in a factory. They require less up-front capital investment therefore

making them more affordable compared to the larger reactors which have to be

constructed on site. This makes them affordable to utility companies where a

return on investment is key to any strategic infrastructure investment.


10. The cost to the UK in not being involved in an SMR programme are huge in

terms of the impact on industry and more importantly the skills required to

manufacture them would be lost. It is not just a case of building one or two but

an opportunity to have a solid long term secure manufacturing base in terms of

capability and the expertise needed to build them. Confidence in UK

manufacturing and the belief in the capability of the workforce would become

part of the way back into a manufacturing rather than a service-based economy.




11. The UK must consider Small Modular Reactor for the UK and as an

exporting opportunity for the UK to grow and develop in a competitive

global market. It would be a unique opportunity to have a large section

of the workforce trained and skilled in a complex manufacturing process

which would then have the confidence and ability to take on other

opportunities which may arise in the future.


12. There is an opportunity to have, Trawsfynydd site in North Wales,

designated as the first UK site to have an SMR. As I keep saying “If you can

build one at the Trawsfynydd site, you can build them anywhere”


February 2023