Nuclear ‘the wrong answer’ says Plaid Cymru leader as new reactors mooted for Anglesey
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has said that nuclear power is “the wrong answer” to Wales’ energy needs as three new nuclear reactors have been mooted for Wylfa on Anglesey.
The UK Government have shown a renewed interest in nuclear power over the last months as soaring energy prices and the Russian invasion of Ukraine put energy supply and security firmly on the political agenda.
US nuclear company Westinghouse has put together a consortium with construction group Bechtel to revive plans for two nuclear reactors at Wylfa since Hitachi, a Japanese conglomerate, abandoned their own plans in 2019.
A consortium led by Rolls-Royce also wants to place one of their own ‘small’ modular reactors on the site.
According to the Financial Times, Boris Johnson is “enthusiastic about Wylfa’s prospects,” with one cabinet minister telling the newspaper he “has had something of an evangelical conversion, in the past few months”.
But speaking at Plaid Cymru’s conference in Cardiff, Adam Price – whose party is in control of Anglesey council – said that although there was discussion within the party they would stick firmly to their anti-nuclear stance.
“We’ve always been a pluralist political party that allows a debate to ensue and to reflect the fact that obviously there are, andthere have been divergent views on this issue,” Adam Price told Sunday Politics Wales.
“But at the national level, of course, we can only have one policy and our national consistent national policy and every motion that we’ve ever had an annual conference has been consistent that we are a party that doesn’t believe in nuclear.
“We do not support nuclear power. It’s the wrong answer. Renewables absolutely is the way to go. And I fear that, you know, nuclear power, very expensive and unnecessary distraction.”
Adam Price’s stance puts him at odds with former leader Dafydd Wigley who said in the House of Lords in December that the case for nuclear power “has to be made with conviction and confidence and with some urgency”.
“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.”
Also speaking on Sunday Politics Wales, UK Government Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said that a new Wylfa would be “transformational” for Wales’ economy.
“I think we’ve moved along a lot further than we have ever been, as far as I can remember anyway, in recognising the need for large and smaller-scale nuclear,” he said.
“This would be one of the most transformational things on the north Wales economy than any of us will have ever experienced. And actually what this has indicated is the government has not lost sight of that.
“Those kinds of initiatives remain absolutely fundamental to the economic fortunes of people across the whole of Wales let alone Wylfa.”
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