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Many unanswered questions as Horizon applies for Development Consent Order for Wylfa nuclear project

 http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/NuClearNewsNo110.pdf  NuClear News Sept 18 

 An application for Development Consent was received by the Infrastructure Planning Inspectorate on 1st June. Horizon was supposed to have submitted its application by the end of March, but this was delayed. On 28th June, the Inspectorate announced that it had accepted the application for examination, and on 6th July it invited interested parties to register. Registration closed on 13th August.

Relevant representations appear on the Inspectorate’s website and include submissions from the Welsh Anti-Nuclear Alliance, Nuclear Free Local Authorities, Together Against Sizewell C, Dr David Lowry, and Dr Carl Clowes. (1)

The NFLA has published its full submission here: http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/nflaviews-wylfa-b-nuclear-planning-application-inspectorate-outlining-litany-concerns/

This says it is highly regrettable that the consideration of Horizon Nuclear Power’s application for a Development Control Order for the Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Power Station is reliant on Government National Policy Statements which are totally out of date. Nuclear power stations are clearly not economically competitive, cannot be built when required by 2025 and energy efficiency measures and cheaper low carbon energy alternatives mean there is no longer a need for them.

 In what will form its full written response to the Planning Inspectorate, NFLA argue:

  • The proposal put forward by Horizon Nuclear Power for this particular site on the Island of Anglesey is totally inappropriate and should not be approved.
  • · Building such a large infrastructure project in a remote rural area like Anglesey is likely to increase local unemployment in the longer term, and have a disruptive impact on the local economy. Going ahead with Wylfa Newydd is likely to detract attention from the far greater job-creating potential of other industries, such as a domestic energy efficiency programme, and the offshore renewable industry, and may actually dissuade companies from setting up in Anglesey, as well as damaging existing industry, such as tourism and agriculture, which rely on the areas reputation for a clean environment to attract business.
  • · It is also likely to be particularly disruptive to the future of the Welsh Language on the island.
  •  · Wylfa B would produce nuclear waste which would contain almost 70% of the radioactivity as the existing waste burden, and which will most likely need to be stored on the Anglesey site for at least the next 120 years.
  •  · If there were an accident at Wylfa B which required the evacuation of an area similar to the area evacuated around Fukushima, experience suggests this would cause complete chaos because of the limited capacity of routes to the mainland. Given that alternatives to Wylfa B do exist which are cheaper and can be implemented more quickly, it is particular perverse to accept the rather devastating impact the proposals will have on designated conservation sites.
  •  · The impact of sea level rise on the proposed site needs to be thoroughly examined in the light of the latest scientific projections on the impact of climate change.

 As we go to press an extraordinary meeting of Anglesey County Council’s planning committee is about to consider Horizon’s application for permission to clear 299ha of land to prepare for construction of the proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant. This vast swathe of land the size of more than 500 football pitches would be cleared over the next 15 months. It will involve clearing field boundaries, demolishing buildings and relocating protected species. It is likely to take up to 18 months for Horizon to get the Development Consent Order (DCO) required to start building Wylfa B, so it wants to get on with clearing the site now.

Anglesey council’s committee has been advised to approve the proposals, but there is opposition from local groups who feel no work should happen until and if the DCO is approved by the Planning Inspectorate. The developers have said they’ll put the site back to how it is now should the DCO not be granted.

The North Anglesey Partnership, consisting of Amlwch, Llaneilian, Llanbadrig, Rhosybol, Mechell and Cylch y Garn community councils, has raised concerns over the timing and lack of information made available by Horizon, stating that with “so many unanswered questions,” no site clearance should take place until full approval is in place. Llanbadrig community council’s own submission, while backing the nuclear plant in principle, went on to say: “There is still much doubt about whether this project will proceed, particularly in the prevailing environment of uncertainty exacerbated by the era of Trump and Brexit. “Horizon seem to recognize this uncertainty in their reluctance to proceed with the bypasses ahead of DCO approval. Site clearance should only proceed in parallel with the construction of bypasses when there is certainty that both are necessary. (2)

The move comes at a time of potential political sea change in some attitudes towards nuclear power in Wales. Leanne Wood, the current leader of Plaid Cymru has said she will fully review its energy policies if she is re-elected in the leadership election due to take place in September. There has been support for the project because of the jobs it would bring, but Wood has reportedly said that she doesn’t want the dependence on Westminster funding that the project would bring. (3)

The Nation Cymru website says the Plaid leadership contest is an opportunity to banish the nuclear elephant in the room once and for all. Nuclear power has to be and needs to be a central part of the debate during the leadership election. If not now, when? This issue cannot be allowed to undermine the party, its current or future leaders any longer; it has become Plaid’s ball and chain. How can we welcome voters old and new to believe manifesto promises or have faith in any single AM, MP or Councillor when the party is simultaneously against and pro one of the biggest issues of our time? Nuclear power is a great distraction from Plaid Cymru’s progressive politics and progressive energy policies, a black hole sucking time and resources Wales doesn’t have, denying communities and the country a real chance of a sustainable and secure future. How can any party simultaneously be pro-independence and seriously entertain or endorse any new nuclear build. (4)

 Leanne Wood is being challenged by the island’s AM Rhun ap Iorwerth and Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM Adam Price. Adam Price has said the new power station is incompatible with Welsh independence. Their opponent, Ynys Mon AM Rhun ap Iorwerth, has backed Wylfa Newydd. (5)

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September 10, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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