Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Renewable Energy not Nuclear Power!

RESPECT statement on Plaid Cymru dropping opposition to nuclear power:

RESPECT Wales are shocked to hear that Ieuan Wyn Jones AM, Leader of Plaid Cymru, has stated that – in principle – he supports the building of a new nuclear power station in Anglesey.

This represents a historic break with Plaid’s policy of supporting a nuclear free Wales.

This is bad news for every anti-nuclear campaigner in the UK.

New Labour want to build a new generation of nuclear power stations, Plaid have undermined the fightback against nuclear power everywhere by supporting this plant and strengthened the hand of Blair, Brown and the pro-nuclear lobby.

And behind nuclear power lies the spectre of nuclear weapons . . .

RESPECT believes that nuclear power cannot be part of the solution to climate change because:

* Nuclear power is costly. It relies on government subsidies of billions of pounds that would be better spent on developing renewable energy.

* Nuclear power is not carbon neutral as its supporters claim. At every stage of the production cycle, from the mining of uranium to the building of reactors and the storage of waste products, greenhouse gases are pumped into the atmosphere and other pollutants leaked into the local environment.

In Southern Australia, the Olympic Dam uranium mine is the region’s largest producer of C02. The mine has also caused huge environmental damage with some of the most ancient springs in the Australian outback are drying up.

* Nuclear power is unsafe. From Chernobyl to Three Mile Island nuclear power has been disastrous.

In Sellafield, leukaemia and cancer rates have rocketed in the vicinity of the power station. There is still no solution to the storage/disposal of nuclear waste.

An Observer article in July 2002 reported, “almost 90% of Britain’s hazardous nuclear stockpile is stored so badly it could explode or leak with devastating results at any time”.

According to a study by Friends of the Earth Cymru, Wales’ current electricity needs could and should be met entirely by renewable energy. In a July 2005 briefing they write:

“Wind energy, offshore and onshore could generate around 30 per cent. Underwater turbines could generate up to 50 per cent. Biomass, solar power and hydroelectric schemes could also make smaller, but significant contributions to make up the difference. Tidal lagoons in the Severn estuary could generate more electricity than Wales needs. Wave energy and tidal streams are other technologies that could be considered.”

RESPECT believe the climate crisis must be solved through a combination of renewables, energy efficiency measures including a massive programme of building insulation, a shift from private motoring towards public transport, and a rapid transition to a low carbon economy.

We demand:

* Emergency steps to reduce the use of fossil fuels, alongside massively increased investment in sustainable energy – including solar, biological, and wind and wave power.

* Opposition to Rhodri Morgan's tidal barrage and call for investment in tidal lagoon technology that is more cost effective & does not jeopardise local habitats.

* No more oil wars. Troops out of Iraq & Afghanistan.

* An international treaty which goes way beyond Kyoto. Campaign for local councils to cut emissions by 25% over 5 years. We demand the government to set binding annual targets of 3% cuts at Welsh Assembly and UK government level.

*A cheap and integrated transport system to provide an alternative to car use, making the current road building programme unnecessary. Re-direct the £30 billion spent on road building into public transport.

* Localised food production with a big reduction in food miles.

* Sustainable town & city planning.

*Tough action against corporate polluters & companies like Esso.

* Halt airport expansion and end the £9 billion tax-break to the airlines. We oppose the expansion of Cardiff Airport.

*Keep Wales nuclear free. Close all nuclear power plants. No to Wylfa B. Scrap trident nuclear weapons.

* All new buildings to be energy efficient. Increased public investment to make homes energy efficient and free insulation to every home. Build new sustainable council housing.

* High quality facilities to maximise recycling. No to incinerators. The aim should be full recycling of waste. In Neath, Respect supporters initiated the Stop the Incinerator campaign.

* Build a massive grassroots movement to save the planet.

The leadership of Plaid are willing to form a coalition with New Labour or even the Tories. They have supported the St. Athan’s Military academy, now they are supporting Wylfa B nuclear power station.

We invite any socialists who are supporters or members of Plaid to join a party – RESPECT – that stands unequivocally against war, racism, privatisation, destruction of the environment, nuclear power and nuclear weapons.



Anonymous said...

So Respect's view is that working class people in Anglesey should lose their jobs and their local AM should sit idly by whilst that happens.

Miserable Old Fart gives good reasons for disagreeing with you

Anonymous said...


The Leader of Plaid explains why their manifesto doesn't oppose nuclear power:

"The reason there is no reference to nuclear energy in our manifesto is because it is a non-devolved issue, with decisions taken at Westminster."

This was the same argument used by the Leader of Welsh Labour to justify his lack of position on Iraq. It attracted ridicule then & it deserves ridicule now.

It is also a little disingenuous. In both their 1999 and 2003 Assembly Manifesto's Plaid took a position on nuclear power - only in 2007 does it suddenly become a devolved issue that therefore doesn't require comment, many will suspect this is because the leadership has chosen to support Wylfa B.

We in RESPECT oppose nuclear power on principle, but even on his own terms, the leader of Plaid's arguments that he has to support a new nuclear power station in Anglesey due to jobs and the local economy are spurious and misleading. In this briefing Adam Johannes from Cardiff RESPECT explains why:


Plaid claims this about jobs. But Wylfa Nuclear Power Station in Anglesey is due to close in 3 years. The new nuclear power station - Wylfa B - won't be built until at least 2020! Yet we could transfer to renewable energy sources more cheaply in less than 6 years.

So these new jobs that Plaid tell us about are years away. What do the people of Anglesey do in the mean time?

Plaid also ignore the rich job creating possibilities of renewable energy. There is potentially huge employment for workers in the installation of a vast amount of marine current turbines and maybe even their manufacture according to research by FoE Cymru.


The Welsh Assembly has resisted the UK government's interest in building new nuclear power stations in Wales. Ieuan Wyn Jones's u-turn on Nukes represents capitulation. It also facilitates New Labour's plan to embark on a new programme of building nuclear power stations rather than transfering to renewables.

Plaid are also encouraging nuclear proliferation, if the UK pushes ahead with it's nuclear programme then how can they argue that other countries in the world don't go nuclear? This increases the danger of another Chernobyl and increased pollution: Radioactive contamination from Sellafield can still be found in the Irish Sea.


The closure of Wylfa in 3 years will result in an electricity gap. How to fill the gap? The government want to continue down the nuclear power/nuclear weapons route. But nuclear power is massively expensive and relies on millions of pounds of tax payers money in subsidies. Plaid are closing the door to renewables filling the gap by supporting Wylfa B.

Plaid and New Labour want to spend 10 years building Wylfa B, a new nuke on Anglesey. But we could transfer to renewables much faster and much cheaper. Wylfa currently provides around 30% of Wales' electricity. Existing and proposed offshore and onshore windfarms could generate almost the same amount of electricity in less than 6 years, and tidal lagoons on the severn and Swansea Bay might be able to generate more electricity than Wales needs.

The prospects for renewable energy on Anglesey are actually pretty favourable, just off the Wylfa headland there's a very strong marine current flow, some environmentalists argue that massive amounts of renewable energy could be coaxed through underwater turbines - possibly rivalling the output of Wylfa. So the choice is a speedy transfer to renewables and educating the electorate, or copping out and arguing for a new nuke that probably won't be built until 2020 at the earliest and would rely on massive public subsidies and pave the way for more nuclear power stations.

There is potentially huge employment for workers in the installation of a vast amount of marine current turbines and maybe even their manufacture according to research by FoE Cymru.

So the choice is between cleaner, cheaper, more environmentally friendly job creating renewables or Plaid and New Labour's expensive, dangerous, unclean, unsustainable, polluting new Nukes.

RESPECT says make Wales and the UK a 'global showcase for clean energy' and demonstrate that nuclear power is unnecessary, unsafe, unclean and uneconomic.

Valleys Mam said...

There is no justification for anything nuclear

Jobs can come with imagination and application

Anonymous said...

The process of refining uranium and transporting it gives off about .05% of the amount of carbon a coal power plant gives off. (I'm from American, I'm not sure waht type of fuel source your power plants use. And, I'm pretty sure a 99.5% decrease in carbon emmisions is good enough for anybody). Plus with the latest in nuclear recycling, 90% of the energy in uranium rods can be obtained, instead of the modest 1% that nuclear power plants can now produce from the rods.

As for Three Mile Island to be "disastrous", while there was an increase in infant and child death (3%) over the next four years, cancer rates and death rates remain normal compared to the rest of the region not conatminated by the meltdown.

Nuclear power is the best thing we have going for Western Civilization, and don't let you're initial fears of it stop it from becoming a reality.

Don't get rid of this comment because I disagree, argument is good.