Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Keep Wales Nuclear-Free goes to Downing Street

The Keep Wales Nuclear-Free petition signed by 2,350 people is being presented at Downing Street today.

Presenting it are Lembit Öpik (Lib Dem MP for Mongomeryshire), Jenny Willott (Lib Dem MP for Cardiff Central), Nia Griffith (Labour MP for Llanelli), plus representatives from Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth, the Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales Green Party and Friends of the Earth Ltd.

Speaking at the event Roger Higman, Climate Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, when asked if the Prime Minister was keen to press ahead with nuclear as part of the Government?s Energy review, Mr Higman told a Westminster news conference: "We (Friends of the Earth) commissioned a former Number 10 staffer to look at what was actually going on inside Whitehall about this and there?s no doubt that the Energy Review was promoted by a small clique of four or five civil servants and David King (Professor Sir David King, the Government's Chief Scientist) and Tony Blair has gone along with it, probably because he personally thinks that nuclear power stations are needed."

The Wales Green Party has become the latest group to join the growing campaign, which means they join
  • Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth
  • the Centre for Alternative Technology
  • Friends of the Earth Cymru
  • the Welsh Liberal Democrats
  • CND Cymru
  • the Wales Anti-Nuclear Alliance and the Wales Alliance Against Nuclear Weapons.
Last month the Welsh Nuclear Free Local Authorities Forum announced its support for the campaign. This effectively adds the ten Welsh local authorities that have declared themselves nuclear-free to the list of endorsements. The authorities are:
  • Caerphilly County Borough Council
  • Ceredigion County Council
  • Flintshire County Council
  • Gwynedd Council
  • Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council
  • Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council
  • Newport County Borough Council
  • Pembrokeshire County Council
  • Rhondda, Cynon, Taff County Borough Council
  • City and County of Swansea.
There are two key associated Early Day Motions which you can get your MP to sign, tabled by the Welsh Lib Dems with cross-party support: EDM 1565 "Keep Wales Nuclear-Free Campaign" and EDM 1564 "Debate and Vote On Nuclear Power".

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Anonymous said...

I don't know enough about Welsh geography to say for sure, but I don't think Angelsey is represented among the anti-nuclear councils.

That could be because, were Wylfa to go unreplaced, an aluminium business on the island would shut down. Between that and the nuclear plant, one job in ten on the island would disappear. Or that people with first-hand knowledge of nuke plants are normally perfectly happy about their safety - after all, nuclear is the safest industry bar none.

Also, there's the small matter of where 10% of Wales' power would come from without Wylfa. I'm certain renewables can come up with some of that, but the government's been pushing as hard as possible for those technologies for the last few years and they still only total about 3% of UK requirements so far. Would they be able to reach 13% in Wales within four years? Good luck!


David T said...

You're right, Anglesey council is scared the jobs at the smelting plant would go.

But luckily there is a strong current just offshore, right by the nuclear power plant, which has been identified as a prime candidate for a tidal lagoon!

Tidal Electric, the developers of the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon proposal, estimate that the scheme could be “up and running within 18 months to two years" - they have the support of the Assembly government and are now conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment.

They have told me that they have surveyed all the Welsh coastline, and the Angelsey spot is ideal - such a proposal also features in Friends of the Earth Cymru's proposals for making Wales nuclear free.

FoE Cymru estimates that the lagoon could replace the power plant and preserve all the jobs.

If you're concerned, please write and tell Anglesey Council!

Anonymous said...

A tidal station... That's cool, and I reckon it should definitely be developed it makes sense, especially if it would produce power on the scale of one of the Wylfa units (~570MW).

I hate the word 'but', but it's hard to run heavy industry like an aluminium smelter on a power resource that works, say, twice a day. What you need is a huge source that is always-on, 24/7. For example, the reactor under construction in Finland is there to power sawmills and the like.

Maybe that means the aluminium plant and the nuclear plant are simply unsustainable in the idealistic sense, and I wouldn't argue against that. What price idealism, I suppose.

I wonder how the environmental impact of the tidal station will compare with that of the existing nuclear plant or a new one. If it were worse, would you change your mind?


David T said...

See a more recent item on barrages, lagoons and marine current turbines for a fuller discussion of this.

Storage is not a problem with fuel cells / hydrogen but would be less of a problem with underwater turbines.

Water is I think 600 times denser than air, and these turbines are like underwater wind turbines.