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Wales government irresponsible to consider expensive move towards nuclear power development

PAWB 7th Feb 2021, OPEN LETTER TO MARK DRAKEFORD, FIRST MINISTER OF WALES. Surprise if not disbelief was our response to the story in the Sunday Times today that reported on the Welsh Government being in talks with Hitachi about buying almost 750 acres of land near the Wylfa nuclear power station. It is worrying that your Education Minister, Kirsty Williams did not deny the story in a television interview today.

Far too much time, money and political energy has been wasted over the past twenty years in Wales as politicians from all parties in the Senedd in Cardiff have followed the political whims of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson in favour of having a new generation of large nuclear reactors.

The history of the site near Wylfa bought by RWE from EdF in 2007 is a perfect illustration of this complete waste of time and money. The RWE/Eon consortium from Germany who set up Horizon stepped aside in March 2012 and were very lucky to sell the Wylfa and Oldbury sites for quite a profit to Hitachi.

Of course, over two years have now passed since Hitachi made the majority of the Horizon workforce redundant and suspended work on the Wylfa site. The writing was on the wall and it was only a matter of time before the announcement in September 2020 that Hitachi were giving up completely on building two of its ABWR reactors on the site. To rub salt into the wound, Hitachi has announced Horizon will cease to exist at the end of March, and even more significantly, the Planning Inspectorate’s report on Horizon’s full planning application was published a few days ago noting that the application would not have been approved.

The main reasons given for refusal were the substantial effect on the biodiversity of this expansive area that such a huge plan would have, whether the tern colony at Cemlyn or grassland across the site.

Significantly also, the inspectors believed that the huge scale of the development would cause
great damage to the linguistic balance of the county with the second highest percentage of Welsh speakers in Wales. Stepping in by the Welsh Government immediately after the publication of the Planning Inspectorate’s report to try to buy the site would show extreme lack of judgement and sensitivity.

Now, of all times, with the COVID-19 pandemic having turned our world upside down, it would be a totally irresponsible action by your Government to spend millions of pounds on a site which is not considered suitable by the Planning Inspectorate for large nuclear reactors.

February 11, 2021 - Posted by | politics, UK

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