Friday, January 23, 2009

Having your 'nuclear cake' and eating it.

Must admit that I'm quietly pleased that with today's indication that one of the first 'next generation' of nuclear power stations is likely to be built at Wylfa, on Anglesey. I'm always uncomfortable with policy positions that accept that certain developments have to take place in the UK, but that they should be barred from Wales. I've never liked the slogan, 'Nuclear Free Wales' without supporting the principle of a 'Nuclear Free UK. It was the same with GM Crops. Although I always supported the cross party campaign's for a GM Free Wales, I used to point out that it did not lie well beside a demand that we wanted there to be thorough testing of GM crops in Britain before we would allow them to be grown in Wales. The policy position was illogical.

But back to nuclear power. Like many people, I was an opponent of nuclear power until the procrastination of the UK government in tackling future energy requirements, delivered a position where new nuclear power stations have become inevitable for energy security. Now there is no option, in my opinion. There is going to be a new generation of nuclear power stations built in Britain as quickly as the Government can arrange it.

There is a wonderful irony in the position of Ieuan Wyn Jones, Leader of Plaid Cymru and Deputy First Minister of the National Assembly on this issue. The Party likes to go around presenting itself as opposed to nuclear power. And there's Ieuan giving a new plant at Wylfa his full backing. He makes the point that he is defending the economy of the constituency he represents. He's right - even though the economy argument is rather weaker than the energy security argument. It would be OK if he was a backbencher. But he's not. He's the Leader. In my book, that makes Plaid Cymru a pro- nuclear power party, and that's what it should say on the tin.


Frank H Little said...

There is no guarantee that Wylfa will be selected over the others on the "shopping list". The decision, in any case, will almost certainly come too late to save the aluminium refinery. It should have been taken years ago.

Stonemason. said...

Quietly pleased? This is the best news we have had in months.

If we could now have an agreement to build the Severn barrage the future would be looking exceedingly bright.

Glyn Davies said...

Frank - It looks a lot more likely that Wylfa will be chosen now. You are right about Anglesey Aluminium. The decision would have to be have been made 10 years ago to save it. Its will be a terrible blow to the island's economy.

Stonemason - You're too demanding. Its a big step for me to say I'm quietly pleased, having been very anti nuclear most of my life. And I've made a big move on the Severn Barrage as well. From a position of being very anti, my strong logic gene forces me to think that since tens of millions are going into research, it would be sensible to await the outcome before deciding. Previous research has indicated too high an environmental price.

The Mighty Atom said...

Ieuan Wyn Jones's atitude really shows how unfit he is to have any responsibilty for decisionmaking in Wales.Basically he is saying that he supports it because he is worried about losing his seat. If the power station was bound for Usk he would oppose it. Thank goodness the decision is the responsibilty of the UK rather than the Assembly. The Assembly has just appointed a former Greenpeace activist from England as the new Director of the Environment. At this rate Wales is in danger of becoming a Third World country as the middle classes of Cardiff who dominate the assembly compete with other economic giants as Estonia for the title of greenest country on the planet. Meanwhile the Poles and the Czechs who are still busy hoovering up Welsh and now it seems Irish jobs are laughing all the way to the bank.

Anonymous said...

"... and that's what it should say on the tin"

Grilliant words Glyn! Beyond brilliant.

Plaid have so many logical conflicts - as you point out Plaid claim to support a nuclear free Wales, yet there's its leader promoting nuclear power.

Clearly Plaid supports nuclear power in Wales - their own leader supports nuclear power in Wales.

sm753 said...

I think Wylfa B will happen, particularly if the East-West Interconnector goes ahead, with the result that the Irish (gasp!) start using nuclear-generated power.

On Anglesey Aluminium, it may not be entirely gloomy. IIRC the cheap contract it currently has is not tied to Wylfa, it is actually the result of AAC's parent having kicked in some money for the building of *Dungeness B* back in the mid-60s.

I can't remember when the contract ends, but it isn't tied to Wylfa. Or at least it wasn't.

Severn Barrage: wouldn't it be better to build the lagoon-things instead?

Stonemason. said...


The lagoons are not projected to produce much more than medium sized power stations each , the Barrage will produce 5-7% UK total demand.