Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/519/3741
Stop the Anglesey nuclear time-bomb
The pro-nuclear alliance of Anglesey County Council and local Labour MP Albert Owen have launched a new propaganda offensive to win people to the idea of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey.
They claim that without it, the island will lose 1,500 jobs. This figure has been inflated by Wylfa taking on temporary workers, and by including 400 jobs at Anglesey Aluminium which the company have publicly stated will not be threatened by closure of Wylfa, although they may use it as a pretext to move production to a lower wage economy.
However, a new nuclear station would employ far fewer people than the current station due to new technologies, and that is before cost-cutting practices of the new station's private owners (Wylfa is presently publicly run).
Local campaign group Pawb are arguing for an alternative employment plan for the island. Much of this lies around the potential for harnassing renewable energy sources, as the island has near ideal conditions for several technologies including tidal, wind, solar and wave. Additionally, based on the experience of decommissioning Trawsfnydd in nearby Gwynedd, decommissioning the current Wylfa station will provide at least 500 jobs for at least fifteen years.
Over a thousand people have now signed a petition organised by Pawb. Socialist Students in Bangor are helping to organise a public meeting.
There are lots of issues the mainstream politicians don't want to talk about. The fact that Wylfa has been shut down several times means that nuclear isn't a sure supply of energy as they argue. Cost-cutting could result in disastrous situations; the memory of Chernobyl still hangs across north Wales as farmers in the region are still affected by restrictions on animal movements as a result of fall-out from that disaster.
Furthermore, a new nuclear power station is seen as carbon neutral, but what about carbon emissions from mining fuel, transportation and construction of the plant itself? Also, the nuclear waste cannot be safely disposed of at present; this is a radiation time-bomb for future generations.
As the government announced the new plants, former Welsh Secretary, Peter Hain, offered his support for them, alongside Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones. Both were prepared to grease the wheels for big business, whilst claiming, like the council, to be fighting for local jobs. Their policies are no solution to the endemic lack of jobs in north west Wales.
Pawb have launched a new website: www.stop-wylfa.org
In The Socialist 6 February 2008:
War and terrorism
Socialist Party women
Socialist Party news and analysis
Young workers and Students
Environment and socialism
Socialist Party debate
International socialist news and analysis