Huhne Wylfa B Position Lukewarm
by David Phillips
Statements from Energy Secretary Chris Huhne on new nuclear build offer lukewarm support for the key Wylfa B project on Anglesey.
With the necessary extensive discussions between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats following an indecisive general election outcome, the thorny issue of nuclear energy had to be resolved.
The Liberal Democrats have long been against nuclear power and have emphasized the achievement of energy security and a low carbon economy from a rapid growth in deployment of renewable technologies.
While the Conservatives went into the general election pledging to support a new generation of nuclear power stations, they did include the proviso that any developer seeking new sites could not rely on any public subsidy.
Horizon Nuclear Power, a joint venture between E.ON and RWE, has started the process towards a formal planning application at the Wylfa Head site on Anglesey. The JV also has plans to build a new nuclear reactor at Oldbury in Gloucestershire.
There had been serious concerns expressed on the island about the possibility of either a Labour or Conservative government in a hung parliament being reliant for support on an anti-nuclear Liberal Democrat party.
Now following Mr Huhne's lukewarm remarks it seems as if Wylfa B is still more likely than not to proceed.
Asked on BBC Radio 4 about his stance on nuclear, the energy secretary said: "...if it turns out - for the first time in decades - a consortium is prepared to build a nuclear power station without public subsidy, then .....that will, in all probability, go ahead."
So what will be the formal situation in Parliament when nuclear matters are debated and voted on?
The coalition agreement between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives states that Lib Dem MP's may abstain in any votes on nuclear power issues but crucially they will not be able to bring down the government over the matter in a vote of confidence.
Given the broad understanding that the UK faces a potentially serious energy gap unless our baseload supply is replaced, the momentum still seems to be with a move to a new generation of nuclear power stations.
Supporters for a Wylfa B on Anglesey will be heartened by such news.
For more local news and articles, subscribe to our free Anglesey
Today Newsletter here.
It's as easy as 1-2-3!