The proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant in North Wales has been granted environmental approval by the European Commission.
Article 37 of the Euratom treaty states that nuclear power stations in a given country must not have significant health or environmental impacts on other members states.
The European Commission (EC) has judged the Wylfa Newydd project to pass this test.
The submission to the EC was filed by the UK government as the host nation for the project. It set out how the intended safety and containment measures of the developer, Horizon Nuclear Power, would prevent the disposal of radioactive waste from the power station leading to contamination in any other EU country.
The plans were assessed in the contexts of operations, decommissioning and spent fuel storage, as well as accidents. Horizon said they were found to be in full compliance with European safety standards in all scenarios.
Earlier this month, Horizon submitted an application to the Planning Inspectorate for a development consent order for Wyla Newydd. The body must decide within 28 days of the submission date whether or not to go ahead with an examination.
If it opts to proceed, the public will first be given the opportunity to register as an interested party as part of a pre-examination stage.
Once this is complete, the Planning Inspectorate will have six months in which to complete the examination, followed by another three months to produce a report and make a recommendation to the relevant secretary of state. The secretary of state then has three months to decide whether to grant or refuse consent.
The whole process typically takes 17 to 18 months from submission to final decision.
Shortly after the application was submitted, business and energy secretary Greg Clark confirmed in Parliament that the government had entered negotiations with Horizon’s owner, Hitachi, about making a direct investment in the 2.9GW plant on the Isle of Anglesey.
In December, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales gave their approval to Hitachi-GE’s UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, which is planned for use at the power station, following the completion of a generic design assessment.