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Dafydd Wigley says that the case for nuclear power ‘has to be made with urgency’ to combat climate change

11 Dec 2021 3 minutes Read
Dafydd Wigley. Picture by Plaid Cymru.

Former Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Wigley has said that the case for nuclear power “has to be made with conviction and confidence and with some urgency”.

Lord Wigley said that he was speaking in a personal capacity. His party said in its 2019 General Election manifesto that it “opposes the development of new sites for nuclear power stations”.

However, Dafydd Wigley said in the House of Lords that he was concerned that renewable sources of energy would not be enough to combat climate change.

“Like most parties, my party, Plaid Cymru, has divergent views within its ranks on the issue of nuclear power,” he said.

“Much of this emanates from horror at the thought of nuclear war and I, along with my party, am totally opposed to nuclear weapons. I understand the arguments about deterrence, but it has to go wrong only once and the world is roasted to a cinder.

“But to rule out the use of nuclear energy to replace carbon sources of electricity for that reason is like refusing to manufacture steel because it could be used for guns. The case for nuclear has to be made with conviction and confidence and with some urgency.”

Dafydd Wigley represented the seat of Caernarfon as an MP and then AM from 1974 to 2003 and said that he “served a county that had two active nuclear power stations: Wylfa and Trawsfynydd.”

He called for the UK Government to “get their act together” of Wylfa and said that Trawsfynydd would be an “ideal demonstrator site” for a Small Nuclear Reactor (SMR).

Trawsfynydd and Wylfa are understood to be two of the sites being lined up for the multi-billion pound mini-power stations in plans by the UK Government and Welsh Government.

“They are not rivals but partners in re-establishing north-west Wales as a powerhouse of the economy, and doing so by methods that would underpin the drive for low-carbon electricity and contribute to the world-wide challenge of heading off climate change,” Dafydd Wigley said.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist, who is a Government Whip, responded that the UK Government had “noted the growing local and regional interest, and indeed support, for several sites for further nuclear development,” including Trawsfynydd.

“We welcome conversations with stakeholders who are considering whether their assets are potentially suitable for the deployment of nuclear facilities,” she said.


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Gareth Wardell
Gareth Wardell
6 months ago

When considering any nuclear power as a source of energy, watching Onkalo- Into Eternity-is a sobering experience.

Geoff Horton-Jones
Geoff Horton-Jones
6 months ago

If you ask the question who will benefit you will not find Wales or its people in the answer

Richard
Richard
6 months ago

A brave comment to the debate Dafydd and typical of your life at the front of this nation — mixing principles and understanding of our nations needs.

Respect for those of us with alternate views on power options reflects your lifetime of service.to Wales.

No flip flops as others of Plaida past leaders have occasionally done but a straight and well articulated set of views which will be digested and im sure noted by many across Wales….from Merthyr to Arfon.

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
6 months ago

Tell us Daf….what are you going to do with all the radioactive waste??

Richard
Richard
6 months ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

A fair comment 😱

Argol Fawr
Argol Fawr
6 months ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

Tel us Dai… What better idea do you have, carbon watt for for carbon watt?

Keith Parry
Keith Parry
6 months ago

Years ago the joke was Plaid Cymru was opposed to nuclear power on the Mainland but not on remote off shore islands like Ynys Mon.

Richard
Richard
6 months ago
Reply to  Keith Parry

Dont quiet remember that Keith – not sure which isle you think Trawsfynydd is on ? 😂

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard

I think Keith is alluding to the habit of hopping around the subject of nuclear energy rather than adopting an articulate well reasoned position. Right now the main reservation in my opinion is the lack of sense in the disposal/storage of waste. It is already a massive problem and with continued exploitation it will increase. As far as I know no one is remotely near solving the problem of the waste and it’s one which could dwarf our concern about carbon derived pollution.

Richard
Richard
6 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Fair point

Argol Fawr
Argol Fawr
6 months ago
Reply to  Keith Parry

That’s News!… or fake.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
6 months ago

I am fine with a debate taking place around the possibility of new nuclear plants being in the mix to meet our future energy needs.

However, anyone tempted to advocate or support this policy should be required to watch Chernobyl, the dramatised account of the accident in the 1980s that came perilously close to rendering our entire continent uninhabitable.

Watch it. Please.

Argol Fawr
Argol Fawr
6 months ago

Chernobyl was a different, dodgy way of designing a reactor, let alone the way it was operated. Watch the program(s) again to understand.

Last edited 6 months ago by Argol Fawr
Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
6 months ago
Reply to  Argol Fawr

And that, I imagine, is exactly the response by you would have heard from the Chernobyl engineers about Three Mile Island.

I am not particularly interested in waiting for an accident in order to figure out whether a reactor design is “dodgy”.

Argol Fawr
Argol Fawr
6 months ago

Other nations were aware of Russia’s RBMK reactor hazards before they were built and the two mile island fiasco was a PR panic more than an impending disaster. There’s Hollywood for you. Not having a nuclear reactor of your own doesn’t prevent your neighbour from building one and causing havoc as we’ve experienced. We’re subject to significant fall out from all the french reactors along the Atlantic coast and NEED to buy its electricity. Germany is reconsidering its nuclear free policy because they are now dependant on Russia for energy, who are dictating terms. And no, alone, renewables aren’t enough.… Read more »

Argol Fawr
Argol Fawr
6 months ago

Not so long ago, didn’t our Dafydd W. get into hot water over the possibility of moving trident to Pembroke from the Clyde by comparing it to Auschwitz?… (obtusely at that). Qualifying his comments today with ‘providing the overall carbon footprint is less than other energy sources, watt for watt, I’d forgive him. But to be honest, his collateral has diminished to be a credible voice these days.

We’re still wondering over Glyn Rhonwy’s ‘Wigle’s Wonder’ development. How many years on is it waiting for a purpose? The Himalayan Balsams’ doing well there though

Andrew
Andrew
6 months ago

They are crying out for a nuclear power plant in Kent at the moment.There is plenty of room, due to there being no wind turbines, open cast mining or industrial logging forestry site’s.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
6 months ago

Very sad and extremely disappointing to hear dafydd banging the drum for nuclear power in Wales – where in Wales does he think the poisonous waste it would produced should be buried? And despite the claims of well funded PR companies acting on behalf of the nuclear lobby its simply wrong to claim nuclear power is needed to combat climate change – there are now a growing number of countries in the world where the majority of their energy is generated by renewables (a simple search on google shows this). Indeed, thanks to renewable energy, wales already produces twice as… Read more »

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
6 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Wish to add to my above comment that there’s also the not insignificant matter of the morality of calling for the commission in wales of an industry which produces plutonium for nuclear weapons which if ever used would obliterate all life on earth – does dafydd really want Wales to be part of that?

Last edited 6 months ago by Leigh Richards
Richard
Richard
6 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Not sure i would call it banging the drum Leigh.

You have a valid stand point – but we best to resist the trumpian way of attacking those with whom we may agree on most things.

The arguement you make on waste is key and i think understood by ‘ Jo Public ‘ so may be best to hone arguments there.

Richard 1
Richard 1
6 months ago

Dafydd repeats the untruth about nuclear’s carbon footprint. Nuclear is NOT low carbon. It’s the 3rd highest carbon emitter after coal-fired and natural gas electricity generators. Life cycle emissions 66 grams of carbon dioxide for every kilowatt-hour compared with 9 grams per kilowatt-hour for wind and 32 grams per kilowatt-hour for solar.
[“Valuing the greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear power”: A critical survey
Benjamin K. Sovacool Energy Policy 36 (2008) 2940– 2953]

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard 1

Thanks Richard. Nice to see good evidence based comments. Could I also add in a reminder that we would need to think about where the nuclear fuel would come from and who would process it into useable form. The answer is not Wales, so it brings back the issue of dependency. Putting the kind of money that nuclear projects seem to get into wave power might be very sensible. There are lots of parts of the West Wales coast where extracting winter energy from waves would save a lot of damage to seaside infrstructure.

Madoc
Madoc
6 months ago

Perhaps one of the key questions is – ‘If Wales were an independent country would it invest in nuclear energy for its own energy needs?’

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