Mixed messages on nuclear power in Wales

IssueOctober 2010
News by Phil Steele

At the last general election, the only parties opposing nuclear new build on Anglesey were the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru. We all know what happened to Chris Huhne and the Lib Dems, but anti-nuclear campaigners have been keen to see how Plaid’s policy would shape up, as Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones (assembly member for the island) had long been ambivalent on the nuclear issue in contravention of his own party’s policy.

At Plaid’s annual conference in Aberystwyth in September, a strong vote against nuclear power was carried, which was welcomed by the anti-nuclear movement in Wales. However, its effectiveness was immediately diluted by the passing of an amendment calling for cooperation with building the new nuclear plant in the interests of the local economy. The rationale for this is that, as the building of power stations of this capacity is not a devolved issue, nothing can be done about it.

PAWB, the local anti-nuclear campaign group, is frustrated and disappointed by this on many accounts. We believe that opposition to this disastrous and dangerous project should be principled and consistent. The crucial issue of nuclear waste disposal is a devolved issue.

The public has been repeatedly misled over the number and nature of jobs being flagged up. The economy of Anglesey would benefit much more from diversification, ideally including an uncompromising commitment to renewable energy research, development and production. The Plaid conference has sent out mixed messages, surely a gift for their political opponents and the nuclear lobby.

On a brighter note, Jill Evans, chair of CND Cymru, was elected Plaid president at the conference.

Topics: Nuclear power
See more of: Wales