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Nuclear ‘the wrong answer’ says Plaid Cymru leader as new reactors mooted for Anglesey

27 Mar 2022 3 minutes Read
Wylfa Power Station. Picture: Andrew Woodvine (CC BY-SA 2.0). Adam Price picture by Plaid Cymru.

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.”

‘Conviction’

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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Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

Adam Price is absolutely right Wales doesnt need nuclear power – or the poisonous waste it produces. In fact Wales already produces twice as much energy as we use. If the uk govt is so sure of the safety of nuclear power then build these nuclear reactors somewhere near Westminster

Eida Downe
Eida Downe
1 month ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Wales uses gas and imports all of it.

That has has to be replaced by electricity. Of which will likely need to be nuclear

Wales over generates a relatively small amount of electricity.

This is about Welsh long term electricity use.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago
Reply to  Eida Downe

Er renewables generate electricity – and many countries are already generating half their electricity from renewable sources. PS. if youre going to comment on my posts do so under a real name…not a fabricated identity

Last edited 1 month ago by Leigh Richards
Eida Downe
Eida Downe
1 month ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Renewables generate electricity when it is sunny or the wind is blowing.

Bit of engineering for you : ventilators and dialysis machines don’t turn off at night.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago
Reply to  Eida Downe

Er these countries seem to manage ok – using something called ‘energy storage’ (bit of engineering for you 😉) https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/11-countries-leading-the-charge-on-renewable-energy/

Eida Downe
Eida Downe
1 month ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

There is no large scale workable energy storage anywhere at the moment.

There wasn’t a single mention of it in that Australian article you Googled there.

Explain how easy it is then, handsome boy.

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Eida Downe

Really easy. You know all those 20 to 100 odd kWh batteries on wheels that are proposed to go on the roads? Stick one in each household in Wales. Tech already exists.

Eida Downe
Eida Downe
1 month ago
Reply to  Arwyn

“Stick one in each household…”

If it’s that easy why aren’t you doing it now?

Oh yeah – Westminster.

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
1 month ago
Reply to  Eida Downe

Planning on it. My next EV will have V2G

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Eida Downe

State on this.

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Eida Downe

As radioactive isotopes decay in the Earth’s crust, as the Moon orbits etc. etc. I presume you’ve never heard of domestic batteries – let’s put one in each Welsh houshold. That’s getting on for 10 GWh of storage there. How about the Fischer Tropsch Process or Hydrolysis then? We also have locations suitable for hydro and a lot of old harbours and docks that could be fitted out to provide tidal power which would provide greater predictability. It is not beyond the wit of man to coordinate these energy resources with the more temporal sources. It’s only about political will,… Read more »

Eida Downe
Eida Downe
1 month ago
Reply to  Arwyn

“Can’t wait until …”

Yeah right. No one votes for it or engages in it.

The Tories get more votes than Plaid Cymru.

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Eida Downe

Support for independence is at around half of Welsh Labour supporters. Overall it’s grown from 5% in the polls when I was a kid to 25% today. I like your complacency. I love how you resort to insults when your arguments break down.

Last edited 1 month ago by Arwyn
Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Eida Downe

More electricity is generated in Wales than we use already and we haven’t scratched the surface of our renewable resources yet.

Eida Downe
Eida Downe
1 month ago
Reply to  Arwyn

There is a concept called base load.

Add to that that gas fired lower5 stations will need to be phased out

Plus whenever a plan for a wind farm goes up on here, you keep going all :. “Build it in Downing Street…”

Ad nauseum

Last edited 1 month ago by Eida Downe
Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago
Reply to  Eida Downe

Whenever we in wales object to the uk govt plonking a dangerous dirty nuclear power station in our country hired pro nuclear lobbyist trolls post under fabricated usernames 😉

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Eida Downe

Yes I know about baseload. You should check my qualifications before trying to patronise me. The finale of your comment is hogwash.

Last edited 1 month ago by Arwyn
Eida Downe
Eida Downe
1 month ago
Reply to  Arwyn

I only know you from that awful “blog” that lasted all of five minutes.

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Eida Downe

Who are you then? We only know you from your pig ignorant comments.

Last edited 1 month ago by Arwyn
Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago
Reply to  Eida Downe

Remember, Wales has an abundance of natural resources at its disposal but the inability to utilise them because Whitehall control the power & funding of large infrastructure projects. And don’t forget. One vital resource denied to Wales is the control over our water resource. Oh, sure. We have shared powers, yes , which means in practise Wales would be consulted by London regarding any new dams built, but cynically were not gifted control over any of the dams that service England and money accrued. At present the “shared” devolution of water powers to Wales means nothing seeing the hostile attitude… Read more »

Eida Downe
Eida Downe
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Lots of villages have been flooded across Wales for water. Liverpool needed it (as did areas of North Wales). That’s what happens. Wales is in the UK. Wales gets given billions of pounds of English tax payers’ money. Men from North Wales go to Liverpool to use the prostitutes, watch the football team. People work and go to university. The water from the Elan Valley and Tryweryn is paid for and always has been by Severn Trent and United Utilities. They own the infranstructure. Water falls from the sky. Go to Liz Saville Roberts’ surgery and she will tell you… Read more »

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Eida Downe

State on this.

Popsie
Popsie
1 month ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

How much of the electricity in Wales comes from burning gas, Adam?.

Richard 11
Richard 11
1 month ago

Nuclear power is disastrous. Leaving aside issues of cost, the decades it takes for nuclear to start generating, the high cradle-to-grave carbon emissions, and the wastes that have to be looked after for millennia, a growing body of evidence in the scientific literature shows the health impacts of uranium particles released during routine operation have been massively underestimated. Energy policy is set in Westminster but health is devolved – another point in favour of independence.

Howard
Howard
1 month ago

While I’m not totally against nuclear power; Wales does have plenty of other (better) options including wind, solar and tidal-lagoons which with energy storage could provide all the energy we need and more besides. (Ideally storage wouldn’t be just batteries; but pumped-hydro and latent-heat storage)

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  Howard

Agreed – Nuclear energy may well save the world. Where it is not needed, it needn’t be applied. Wales does not need it.

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
1 month ago
Reply to  Howard

Neither Wales nor Scotland need nuclear to keep the lights on and get to net zero. If anywhere in the U.K. needs nuclear its England. Wales could choose to have nuclear, but no one should think we have to have it

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago

We don’t need nuclear at the moment. Current fission designs produce problematic waste and is very expensive. ITER looks promising for the future. Until then we need to invest in our plentiful renewable resources and means of energy storage. Much cheaper, tech that can be done relatively cleanly and bring jobs now without the headache of radioactive waste.

Last edited 1 month ago by Arwyn
Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

Anything promised to Wales by the Tories always include a caveat. Beware the Tory Trojan horse. Notice too how they always pull all the stops out to build infrastructure in England but Wales is a different matter unless it benefits England first.

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
1 month ago

Does Wales need nuclear power? Electricity consumption in Wales in 2018 was 14.9 TWh of which 7.4 TWh came from renewable sources (50%) National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) estimate that to achieve net zero by 2050, electricity consumption will increase by 2.3 – 3.0 times, mainly depending on the route taken to decarbonise heating and industry, and the source of hydrogen Sources of power include onshore wind, offshore wind, solar, nuclear, biomass, gas with carbon capture, hydro and other smaller sources This will mean Wales needs to generate from 34.3 – 44.7 TWh of power, of which 26.9 –… Read more »

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan Dean

A very well thought out comment. One of the things that frustrates me with our planning for the transition to zero carbon is the approach to heating. The passivhaus standard aims to reduce heating requirments from 300 to only 15 kWh/m2 a year. For the average house, that would give a heating requirement in winter of 2kWh per day. Energy Saving Trust puts the average heat energy gain from a solar water panel at 75kWh over the course of a winter month. It seems crazy to me that we’re not looking at housing in the round here. With house prices… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Arwyn
Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
1 month ago
Reply to  Arwyn

Roughly 90% of the houses we’ll have in 2050 are already built. New houses should be built to higher standards, Passivhaus would be great, but almost anything better than we have now would be a move in the right direction. The real challenge comes in retrofitting existing houses and the lack of activity on that is verging on criminal A myth has arisen that hydrogen from “free” wind will easily replace gas, but it will be so expensive that massive retrofitting of insulation will be required to minimise consumption A lot of the increase in electricity demand will come from… Read more »

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan Dean

By expensive, do you mean production or storage/transport? On the transport front, this is something Mark Barry often talks about. The obsession that the answer to our problems is a simple switch to electric cars is a problem. We have to look at alternatives. Public transport and active travel appear the only viable alternatives. I’m not suggesting no cars at all, but we must find a way of reducing our need to use them.

dave lympo
dave lympo
1 month ago

oh god what planet are plaid living on? Nuclear is the only way forward and promotes good prospects for local people

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