Monday, 24 September 2007

No Nuclear Nightmare for Ynys Môn!

here's an interview i recently did with an activist from a local campaign group

Wylfa, the nuclear power plant on Anglesey, has been operating there since the 1960’s. It is currently coming towards the end of its life and is due to close in 2010. When the government last year proposed a second generation of nuclear power plants, Anglesey County Council and the local Labour MP, Albert Owen heralded the coming of a new power plant at Wylfa, which the said would bring jobs and prosperity to local community.

The reality is far different. The island’s two main employers are Wylfa and Anglesey Aluminium which gets a supply of energy from Wylfa at a discount. Local politicians have argued that if Wylfa closes, so will Anglesey Aluminium with a huge loss of jobs. However, many jobs will be retained in the decontamination process that could take several years and workers would be needed to maintain any renewable power generation.
Also, Anglesey Aluminium survived for 18 months whilst Wylfa was closed down, so how much of a difference will be made by a permanent shutdown? Even Anglesey Aluminium’s managing director has stated the future of the company doesn’t depend on a new nuclear plant at Wylfa.

Furthermore, the local politicians don’t talk about the inherent dangers of nuclear power. British nuclear power generation has far from a spotless safety record and Wylfa itself has been closed several times. Moreover, the big problem with nuclear power is what to do with the waste which stays radioactive for thousands of years. There is currently no safe way of storage. Government suggestions that a safe way may be found in the future is just their way of passing the buck and storing up big problems for the future.

The precedents for a campaign against another plant on Anglesey are there however. In the mid-1980’s the Thatcher government proposed a new nuclear power station on the site, which a local campaign (under the same name) organised successfully against, contributing to the proposal being dropped.

The present campaign features some of the members of the original group (the organisers continued to monitor the situation between themselves), alongside local community activists and some alternative energy researchers who have been working on proposals on how the area’s energy needs could be met through renewable energy, which Anglesey is ideally located to harness.

The campaign organised a public meeting of about 40 people last February in Menai Bridge, and has launched an online petition (www.petitiononline.com/nonuke) as well as carrying out leafleting of the whole of the island. Last year the House of Lords threw out Blair's phony 'consultation' on new nuclear power stations and told the government to go back and carry out the a real consultationthey had promised. Since then, the issue has temporarily stalled and the local politicians behind the proposals have kept quiet. The campaign, however, is still active, holding regular stalls in Llangefni and running fundraising events to support the campaign.

The Socialist party says

• Nationalise the commanding heights of the economy including the energy sector and large manufacturers

• No to nuclear power, for massive investment into the development of renewable energy

• For a socialist plan of production to meet people’s needs

1 comment:

Renegade Eye said...

It could be a large campaign if organized well.