RWE Island Plant A Nuclear Nightmare Says Lib Dem

by Iain Richardson

A new RWE Npower nuclear station at Wylfa on Anglesey would be a nightmare scenario and target for terrorists, according to Lib Dem Welsh Assembly shadow spokesman for the Environment, Mick Bates AM.

In rather strident and alarmist tones, Mr Bates describes news of RWE's success in securing a grid connection for building Wylfa B on the island as a route to a toxic nuclear future with a "lethal" legacy for future generations.

He says the UK government has dithered over introducing more alternative sources of energy such as wind and tidal and has not backed up sufficient research in these green areas.

Mr Bates thinks that nuclear energy is not the answer to the UK's urgent need to address its growing energy gap, energy independence or climate change obligations.

Amazing when you think that over the Christmas holidays on Anglesey, we lost count of the number of times we walked along the coastline and saw all those wind turbines standing still, generating zero kilo watts of electricity.

It seems that the Lib Dems just don't get the magnitude of the challenge facing the UK, and indeed the world, when it comes to trying to secure a low carbon baseload supply of electricity.

At present the main providers of baseload electricity in the UK are coal, nuclear and gas, making up around 94 per cent of the total.

So what is the other 6 per cent? Well, about 1 per cent oil, 1 per cent hydro electric and then the balance, 4 per cent from renewables such as wind and tidal.

In fact, tidal is the area to really make a move as it is guaranteed 365 days of the year, compared to the lottery of wind turbines.

He is right to point out that there is massive potential in creating thousands of new jobs in the green technologies and the UK government is already on the case, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown has signalled this area as a key growth industry.

What Mick Bates has to appreciate is that the best way forward is a balanced approach using clean coal as well as new nuclear build with gas for the baseload supply, and tidal, wave and hydroelectric and biomass adding to wind for the 4-5 per cent of renewables.

Yes, perhaps we can nudge that up towards 10 per cent, but it will be very hard going, however many thousands of jobs are created.

The Lib Dems should be pragmatic and support a new generation of nuclear power stations. After all, Sir James Lovelock, a famous green scientist, has said that he would be happy to have a nuclear power plant in his back garden.

So, what do you say, Mick? Would you support a Trawsfynydd B?

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