.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Going nuclear

In this morning's Western Mail, Friends of the Earth highlight the rather bizarre position whereby at least one Welsh Party leader is at odds with his own party's policy on nuclear power.

Friends of the Earth's call for the abandonment of a replacement for Wylfa B in Anglesey comes on the 15th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster. The legacy of this incident still hangs over Wales, with 330 Welsh farms – and 180,000 sheep – under restriction because of radiation that swamped a wide area of North Wales after the blast on April 26, 1986:

Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru Gordon James called on the leaders to rethink their supportive position on the Wylfa site after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan which has crippled the country’s Fukushima-Daiichi plant.

He wrote: “The catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan, following the horrific earthquake and tsunami, has forced a global rethink on nuclear power.

“China, for instance, has suspended approvals for proposed nuclear plants and Germany has shut down seven of its nuclear reactors while it reconsiders its nuclear strategy.”

He added: “It has been extremely disappointing, and rather bizarre, to have had the leaders of the two parties in coalition government in Wales oppose their government’s policy on such an important issue.

“We hope that the current reassessment of nuclear power will mean that the next Welsh Assembly Government will be unanimous in its opposition to new nuclear build at Wylfa.”

I am not clear what exactly the UK Government's position on nuclear power is at this moment. The key lies in how we define public subsidy. The UK Government has said it will not subsidise the building of any new nuclear plant. That must mean that full provision should be made by any developer for the decommissioning of that plant. If that is the case then any new plant will be unaffordable by the private sector.

Clearly, the tragedy in Japan and the legacy of Chernobyl must lead us to pause and think. Irrespective of who has the responsibility, the development of a comprehensive energy policy including a complete review of TAN 8 in Wales has to be a priority for any new Welsh Government.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?