Independent Assembly Member Neil McEvoy has said that he is “surprised” after Plaid Cymru AMs chose to abstain on an amendment to oppose nuclear power as a means of combatting climate change.
The climate change motion was brought about by Plaid Cymru and called for the Welsh Government to explicitly ban fracking and to abandon the proposed M4 motorway black route.
But the independent AM Neil McEvoy also added an amendment calling for opposition to nuclear power.
Speaking after the vote Neil McEvoy AM said he was “really surprised” to be the only AM “prepared to vote to oppose nuclear power”.
“There has been so much opposition to new nuclear in Wales and the campaign against the Hinkley ‘nuclear’ mud has gained international attention,” he said.
“It was important to have on record that the Labour Assembly group’s position on nuclear, which is why I introduced the amendment. But I didn’t think Plaid would abstain. Last week they were meeting with anti-nuclear activists from Fukushima but this week they abstained on the vote.
“Llyr even made it clear during the debate that it’s Plaid’s national policy to oppose new nuclear reactors and this was a vote in the National Assembly. It seems like Plaid had everything to gain by voting with their own policy and showing they oppose nuclear power.
“Abstaining has just raised the questions all over again about what Plaid’s policy on nuclear actually is. I hope that’s made clear without delay.”
The future of nuclear in Wales has come under scrutiny recently after a campaign was launched to oppose the dumping of mud, dredged from outside Hinkley Point nuclear reactor, in Welsh waters.
That led to campaigners taking their case to the High Court and Assembly Members voting on a motion to suspend the dumping. Labour voted to allow the dumping to continue, while Plaid, the Conservatives and UKIP voted to stop it.
But on the question of opposing nuclear power in Wales, Labour, the Conservatives and UKIP voted to support nuclear power, while the Plaid Cymru group abstained.
In defending Plaid’s decision to abstain, Llyr Gruffydd AM, argued that opposing nuclear as a means of combatting climate change was “not necessarily the strongest reason”.
He went on to say that “we only need to look at how some prominent environmentalists such as Monbiot have been grappling with this question to recognise that there is no specific consensus on this issue”.
“But certainly it is something that deserves consideration and broader discussion.”