Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Shock news: Local Politician Claims Credit for Wylfa B

With the election so close at hand one shouldn't be too surprised with the brazenness of local politicians seeking to claim credit for yesterday's news on Wylfa B. However, even I was slightly taken back aback by this quote from Albert Owen in today's Daily Post:

“Getting to this point did not happen by accident, but by design; through strong campaigning. I have proactively led that campaign both in Parliament and on Anglesey, working alongside the Secretary of State for Wales, the current First Minister, the local community and the Isle of Anglesey County Council."

Strange therefore that Horizon Nuclear Power explicitly cited these two reasons why they chose Wylfa over other sites:

  • Because of overwhelming popular support on the Island
  • Because Wylfa's position on the Irish Sea did away with the need to construct large water cooling towers

Neither of which, as far as I know, have anything to do with Albert Owen at all.

Anyway, seeing how Albert Owen is apparently singlehandedly responsible for Wylfa B, perhaps he might like to answer these questions:

  • Considering that Labour has been in Government for three terms why will there be a gap of at least 10 years between the current Wylfa reactor being decommissioned and the new Wylfa B reactor coming online? Especially considering that even the Department of Energy and Climate Change predicts energy blackouts by 2015, why hasn't the Government begun replacing Britain's ageing power stations, including the Wylfa reactor, earlier? 
  • According to the latest list of Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) projects Wylfa was slated to get an application in for November 2011. Yet according to Horizon's announcement yesterday, an application for Wylfa is only “scheduled for “2012,” a year behind their original schedule. Why is this?
  • In 2008, then-Secretary of State at BERR John Hutton said, “We consider that a decision by an operator to proceed in principle with building a new nuclear power station and therefore to request from the Government a fixed unit price for waste disposal in a Geological Disposal Facility could come as early as mid 2009”. The Fixed Unit Price is the government’s clever idea to protect taxpayers from hikes in the cost of new build waste management, and it is absolutely central to making the sums for new nuclear even remotely workable. Hutton hoped that in 2009 operators would be given a set price that they must put aside to cover the estimated costs of dealing with waste at the end of the reactor’s life. Well, we’re in 2010 and DECC have only just launched a consultation on the Fixed Unit Price. This won’t finish until the summer, so an operator like Horizon won’t be able to get a figure until into 2011. This effectively translates as DECC creating a delay of 2 years in the space of 2 years. Why is this?
  • Is it true that EDF still holds land vital to the new Wylfa project? Apparently EDF doesn’t have to sell the land it owns at Wylfa until it is granted planning permission for two new reactors at both Hinkley Point and Sizewell. There’s no guarantee this will ever happen.
Over to you, Albert...
Hat Tip: this post on Left Foot Forward.

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