Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Nuclear Carwyn

I understand why some environmentalists have come around to the view that nuclear energy should be part of the mix, usually on the basis of deciding between the lesser of two evils. I respect that opinion and the reasons for it. I still think that they're wrong however, and nothing has happened to date to convince me that anything has changed on my two main reasons for opposing nuclear energy (or that there is not an alternative renewables-based energy future available to us).

The first is that we still have no safe, reliable option for handling the highly toxic waste produced by nuclear power stations, even after 50 years of using nuclear energy.

The second is that I don't think we understand the full cost – either financial or carbon – of the nuclear option; and until we do understand that total cost – including all the costs associated with mining and processing the fuel, decommissioning the stations at the end of their life, and managing nuclear waste, I don't think we are in any position to make a sound judgement.

Last week, Carwyn Jones suggested that he would support a new nuclear plant in Ynys Môn. Of course, if we accept the arguments in favour of nuclear power, then building any new station on a site where all the infrastructure is already in place makes eminent sense. But if one doesn't accept the argument for going nuclear, then pragmatic arguments about the siting are irrelevant, and should never be used to outweigh the arguments about the principle. The energy policy must come first; and it shouldn't be driven by entirely local considerations.

Given that Jones made his statement on a visit to the island as part of an internal Labour election campaign, it's clear that his message was aimed, at least in part, at securing the support of Labour party members on the island. In that context, how seriously should we take his statement?

My concern is that there seems to be a sub-text here that the policy of the Labour Party – and therefore of the Government - can somehow change overnight as a result of the election of a new leader. This is far too important a change in policy for it to be allowed to happen in that fashion.


Helen Hughes said...

yes John i do a agree with you

Pelagius said...

Good post. Glad to see the party line is holding, despite . . . .

Anyway, I have seen nothing about what the 3 candidates think about nuclear weapons, new aircraft carriers, expeditionary wars, etc. Unless they make that clear, how can any of them argue about saving public services?

Are they just the usual British nationalists?

julius senn said...

nuclear power uses massive amounts of coal (not all de-sulphurised) and water. Get rid of toxic waste as you mention, carbon sequestration is largely untested and unproven.