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Sunday, April 22, 2007

On the fence (Part Two)

I have to admit that although I noted Ieuan Wyn Jones' attempt to save his own bacon in Anglesey by u-turning on nuclear power, I had not paid much attention to the so-called conditions he has attached to that about-face in an effort to salvage some credibility with the anti-nuclear lobby.

However, reading his interview with Matt Withers in the today's Wales on Sunday all became clear. In that piece Ieuan spells out the three caveats for his support for a replacement for Wylfa. These are (1) that he likes the kind of reactor that is to be used; (2) he believes that it is worthwhile in employment terms; and (3) he is satisfied about how the waste will be disposed of.

This last condition is intriquing, because Ieuan knows that there is no way that any authority will be able to dispose of the waste from a nuclear reactor safely and in a way that will satisfy those living near to wherever it is buried or stored. What the Plaid Cymru leader has done is to try to create the impression that he is in favour of a replacement for Wylfa whilst setting conditions that are likely to ensure it is never built.

His stance will upset the anti-nuclear lobby, who Plaid Cymru have assiduously courted for decades, whilst still leaving him open to charges of sitting on the fence in his own backyard. That is the problem when you try to run with the hares and with the hounds on such a fundamental policy issue, you lose all credibility with both sides.
It frustrates me that Wales is happy to sit on the coat tales of England and avoid the hard choices that would actually benefit Wales.

No mentally confusing nuclear power- which would deliver zero Co2 emissions and give huge energy security from unstable russia- because its the devils work!

And Wales' AMs are happy to make these decisions because public spending is on the rise and they can rest assured that big brother England will take the hard decisions, make the investments and ensure Wales has its fair share of Enland's hard earned gains.

The Assembly's new powers will not lead to AMs playing grown up politics where the hard decisions must be made, regardless of their short term unpopularity.

There are no visionary thinkers in the Assembly as too many of them Peter think like councillors not statesman.

So while the Assembly and WAG reinforce the hand out culture with free this and free that, Ieuan is able to make such statements because none of the Assembly members are playing grown up politics- making tough decisions which would pay dividens.

while AMs are unable to make these real decisions, the people of Wales will feel no real benefit.

Peter, dont get sucked into thinking knowing your way around the Assembly and its proceedings actual means something.

There is a world out there were tough decisions need to be made, its a world where few AMs choose to think fresh thoughts but instead revert to type when confronted with something that demands more than a knee-jerk reaction.
Those tough decisions have been ducked by successive UK governments, Conservative and Labour, soft and hard, since the 1950s. The result is that there is five decades worth of waste which is piled up near where it is produced.

Most of this is low-level (discarded clothing etc.), probably as dangerous as your average smoke-detector, but there is a hard core of more problematic stuff. It is doubtful that this is properly accounted for. The recent Dounreay "drain" incident must give us pause.

My point is this: before we can even consider investing in new nuclear stations, there must be a strategy for getting rid of the existing waste.

I believe that the problems have been solved, or are soluble. Australia and at least one Scandinavian country have devised satisfactory schemes.

These things have a cost, and that must be factored in to calculations for nuclear generation.

There is a case for the taxpayer picking up the tab for disposal of previous years' waste, because of the links to defence.

However, there can be no justification for government, either in Westminster or Cardiff, subsidising private generators in future.

- Frank Little
Sitting on the Fence No.3........

Lib Dems Policy on Trident Replacement.
The third condition isn't that hard to meet - IWJ will be satisfied if the nuclear waste is dumped in England.
There are some of us who believe that there is no logical reason to retain a nuclear missile system, and that now was the opportunity for the party to say so.

Fortunately for party unity in Wales, it is not an issue which is relevant to the Welsh election.

- Frank Little
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