Sunday, 22 April 2012

Wylfagrad B, Leanne Wood, and Political Cowardice.

I'm puzzled. Almost a month has now passed since the German owners of Horizon announced they had decided to pull the plug on Wylfa B — yet Plaid Cymru's new leader Leanne Wood has not uttered a single word about nuclear energy since. This is strange because arguably one of the central planks of her leadership campaign was her outright opposition to ANY Nuclear energy in Wales, including a new plant at Wylfa. Indeed, immediately after she won the leadership contest in mid March she said this to the Daily Post:

“Plaid Cymru’s stated position is in opposition to a new nuclear power station in Wales. That isn’t to say jobs in North Wales isn’t of vital importance. I have put forward an alternative jobs plan for the North West and for Ynys Môn, those jobs are in the renewable energy sector so we can build a clean, green industry that doesn’t risk our future.”

You would therefore assume that when RWE and E.On made their announcement just two weeks later Leanne Wood would have welcomed their decision and reaffirmed her commitment to a nuclear-free Wales. You might even expect her to have redoubled her efforts to promote the "alternative jobs plan for the North West and for Ynys Môn" she mentioned above — essentially to set up a massive Quango on Ynys Môn called the "Energy Department for Wales" funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency.

Instead we have heard absolutely nothing from her whatsoever on the topic. Why not? Apparently anti-nuclear posturing is fine and dandy until what she said she wanted actually happens and thousands of jobs are suddenly put in danger. It looks more and more to me like political cowardice which doesn't bode well for the rest of her term as Plaid leader.


Should we be concerned with reports that Rosatom, the Russian state-owned nuclear energy corporation, is interested in buying up Horizon and progressing with Wylfagrad B? Probably yes, but not for the "Chernobyl" scaremongering by people like PAWB. The disaster at Chernobyl was caused by unauthorised experiments carried out by the operators to see just how far they could push the reactor without causing a meltdown, involving the disabling of several failsafe mechanisms which would normally have prevented it. The consequences were horrifying, but it is fantasy to think that the involvement of Rosatom at Wylfa could lead to anything similar happening here. Should Rosatom be given the go ahead they will have to use the exact same designs developed by the Germans, and make the exact same choice between either the Areva or Westinghouse reactors — essentially the only thing the Russians will be supplying is the funding.

The more pertinent question regarding Russian involvement at Wylfa is whether the UK really wants a country which has used energy supply as a diplomatic weapon in the past obtaining a foothold in our own energy market?

For what it is worth I suspect that there are many more runners and riders in the race to buy Horizon and that the Russians are just the most vocal.


Jac o' the North said...

Major problems with 'renewable energy' that those on the Left are now realising - apart from unreliability of supply - are:

1/ It is expensive, pushing the poorest into 'fuel poverty'. Difficult for a socialist to defend.

2/ Its justification was global warming, yet it is now being being conceded that we have seen no global warming for 15 years.

I sense a reluctant re-positioning.

228FPA said...

It's so very easy to posture what they (PC) would if they ever came to power (God help us if they ever did) but when the chickens come home to roost (Wylfa B) - it's time to put up or shut up.

LW has decided on the third option - pretend it never happened.

Say nowt, do nwot and see nowt.

Richard Sletzer said...

Shoud we be surprised that Left-Leaning Leanne has been struck silent?

It's not the first time that Plaid Cymru's leadership have found themselves hopelessly conflicted on nuclear power.

Back in '80s Dafydd Elis Thomas tied himself up in knots over the same issue. The nuclear authorities wanted to carry out a test programme to see whether the life of Trawsfynydd nuclear power station (in DET's constituency) could be extended - with all the benefits for continued employment etc.
This was a dilemma for Elis Thomas who in those days used to sport a CND badge on his lapel and (unbeknown to most of his voters) was bedding CND chair Marjorie Thomson.
The issue was whether he should side with CND and oppose the test and the possible extention of Trawsfynydd's life or support his consituency and the tests to lengthen the life of Trawsfynydd.

No prizes for guessing the outcome.

kp said...

'For what it is worth I suspect that there are many more runners and riders in the race to buy Horizon ...'.

You may be correct, but only if the figures work out. And that means huge government subsidies.

No subsidies, no runners and riders, no Wylva B.

Leanne Woopd is dead right; take the subsidy money and put it into renewable energy schemes, just like the Germans are doing. Give the younger generations a real sense of hope for a worthwhile future.

Simple, honest Tory values, but seemingly never vocalized here on Anglesey.

Shame on you!

Anonymous said...

I was ashamed at the lack of Vision of the new Plaid Leader Leanne Woods when she launched their campaign in Carmarthen.... If had wanted to make a real statement and made herself heard as a real voice she should had started her campaign in the Island that has been denied a Vote in this year's election.. a golden opportunity missed to shame the Welsh Assembly, unfortunatly the same stance applies to any decisions about Nuclear Energy, no-one has any idea what they are doing!

The Red Flag said...

Leanne Wood is being far from quiet - she's been whistle-stopping all over south and west Wales rallying her troops for the council elections. Just because we aren't having any doesn't mean the same fate has befell the rest of Wales.

As for Wylfa, it isn't actually any of Plaid's business. In fact it's not the business of the Welsh Government. In fact it's not even the business of Parliament in London. It has precisely nothing to do with anyone outside of the UK Cabinet.

If the whole of Wales went Plaid tomorrow and Parliament voted no the Cabinet can still impose it - it doesn't need anyones permission, it's a purey UK strategic issue.

In all probability she's watching to see what happens and if it goes ahead ill probably make great play of the fact that it's got nothing to do with Wales or it's people and their opinion is of no relevance and less interest.

mairede thomas said...

Red Flag you can't be serious when you suggest that the loss of 600 more jobs on Anglesey can be said or spun as if its an issue that "has nothing to do with Wales".
When Plaid does its sums and works out that its hopes for renewables are very wide of the mark just now, I will begin to take notice of other things they are saying. But a political party that cannot add up is of no use.

Anonymous said...

So the whole strategy of having a nuclear power station on Anglesey does NOT come under the will or want of the people, well let me explain something simple the will or wants of the people of Anglesey does not come under the political control of any party that is supposed to represent us, when all they are interested in, is getting their fat ugly snouts, both male and female into the trough, to get as much money as they can, while we, all get deprived of work, live on an Island that has been dubbed " Energy Island" and have no future whatsoever, the only future we have is having all our assets stripped off us, and being turned into slaves by an uncaring and unwanted political system that has denied us all, even denied us the right to vote this May. Plaid Cymru, Labour Conservatives and Lib dems, should hang their heads in shame.

Andrew said...

The same pigs have misappropriated our European Objective One Funding.

Anonymous said...

The European Objective One Funding is known in the Offices of Llangefni as the Black Forest Gateaux, known throughout Europe as a lovely dessert, when it comes to Llangefni it becomes re-labelled as our local delicacy the Anglesey Cake, sliced according to Political Allegiance and a first come first served basis. Old habits die hard, any funding is always best left to the experts to distribute, however, any left overs will almost always be distributed to the locals to stop them moaning.
The new name for Wylfa is officially Wylfanobyl, long it continue to be an eyesore.

PromoetheusW said...

Mairede: I think Red Flag was saying that the making of the decision of what to do about Wylfa is not within Welsh control - however the consequences of that decision, once made, will indeed affect us all.

Richard Sletzer said...

There may be a huge long-term advantage to Anglesey in losing the new Wylfa nuclear power station.

Forget "Energy Island" - let's concentrate instead on Anglesey's trump cards - food and leisure.

The agricultural land of Anglesey is clean and of high quality. The sea around Anglesey is clean, clear and warmed by the Gulf Stream. So let's forget about nuclear anything - let's market Anglesey as a clean safe place to grow food, to fish and to come on holiday. Let's make it a kind of Northern version of Jersey.

Safe food will be the big market of the future. Since the 1986 Chernobyl Disaster we have never bought Welsh lamb - simply because no butcher could ever tell us where it came from . We specifically wanted to know if the "Welsh Lamb" we were being sold was lamb which had been raised on the contaminated uplands of North East Wales. The information was always refused. This attitude must have done enormous damage to the "Welsh Lamb" brand.

But an "Anglesey Lamb" brand would be a very different matter. Mercifully Chernobyl fall-out didn't wash out over Anglesey. Anglesey produce is safe and top quality. We just need to realise it and market it properly.

Let's make Anglesey once again what it always was - "Mam Cymru"

Ex Plaid Voter. said...

As one County Councillor told me today, "The Council is officer led and, this is why none of the councillors will complain, because all that would happen is they would become further victims of their axis of evil.

No names mentioned, YET.

mairede thomas said...

PromoW - I know that was what Red Flag said but we elect our politicians to speak up for us even when they don't hold Office or power(no pun intended). As Plaid are not in either the UK or Welsh Government the most they can do is speak up and make the best case they can in opposition. Silence speaks volumes in this instance.

mairede thomas said...

Richard S.

Food and Tourism have long been the island's economic bedrock,and we can thank farmers for having been the guardians of the beautiful landscape that the tourists want to come and enjoy.

And you are right about the future need for an affordable,secure and safe source of food. I wish politicians would understand the importance of this and would re-focus policy accordingly.

But there needs to be a place on the island for science and technology to flourish and Coleg Menai is very well equipped for that and the skills and knowledge base established at Wylfa are attributes that I would like to see remain on the island.

Nuclear power stations are being built around the world, we need to stay abreast of the technology and contribute to worldwide safety standards.

PS. Pleased to see that Bangor Uni. has become another centre for a Confucius Institute.

Anonymous said...

"Nuclear power stations are being built around the world"

Are you sure about that?

China, maybe. Let's hope they're better with their power stations than with their high speed rail.

But outside China?

There's Olkiluoto, and Flamanville. Both massively delayed, massively overbudget, and not exactly adverts for the next generation product from this industry.

Where else?

Anonymous said...

"Nuclear power stations are being built around the world"

Are you sure about that?

There are 61 reactors currently being built around the world!

JohnJ said...

For those of us who want a clean energy future for our children, here's a good place to start:

Anonymous said...

Where's your source, Mairede?

Does it date to before or after Fukushima?

I found one that says 63 under construction, but 2 of those were in Japan and presumably aren't happening any more (though the source claims its info is accurate as of 30 March 2012).

Of the rest, 26 are in China and 10 in the Russian Federation, or read it yourself...

The Red Flag said...

Anon, there's similar figures to that in The Economist.

JohnJ said...

Guardians of the soil????????

Cancer cluster downwind of Wylfa

Welsh-language TV channel S4C has reported new evidence of a cancer cluster near the nuclear power stations at Wylfa in Wales.
Commissioned by S4C, Professor Chris Busby analysed official data for cancer deaths, showing a statistically significant 58% increase in female breast cancer and 50% increased lung cancer in men downwind of the two Magnox reactors, which began production in 1971.

Here in Mid Wales cancer is high lots of my school friends have already died from various forms of cancer in their late 30's,40's,50's, and 60's.
By contrast lots of people living into their 90's those who were born in the 1915-20's.
Cancer death seems to be more prevalent with those born from the late 1940's onwards.
I don't know but when lots of these people were growing up,(including myself) there was lots of Nuclear weapons testing going on (1950's) and long lasting radioisotopes released, Plutonium has a half life of 24,000 years.
Also Mid Wales is in a Nort-West line from Trawsfynnydd.
I may be completely wrong but cant help but start to join the dots!

JohnJ said...

Thank you Paul for posting that. I understand that it is very controversial and many will deny a link.

Richard Sletzer said...

Hmmmm. I think we need to be wary of S4C reports of "Cancer Clusters near Wylfa" and allegations of "high cancer deaths in Mid Wales".

We can all pluck isolated statistics out of thin air and draw misleading conclusions from them.

For example the area with the highest death rate in England and Wales is Bryncethin in Bridgend, with 1,499 deaths per 100,000 population - but those figures tell us nothing.

We do know that death rates are linked to lifestyle more than anything else. Rotten diets, heavy drinking, smoking and poor genes are the major factors.

As for cancer, well, after heart/circulatory diseases, it's the second most common cause of death so "cancer clusters" are pretty meaningless - unless, that is, you are a tv current affairs producer trying fill a programme.

JohnJ said...

A study, conducted by the French health research body INSERM, found that between 2002 and 2007, 14 children under the age of 15 living in a 5-kilometre radius of France’s 19 nuclear power plants had been diagnosed with leukemia.

This is double the rate of the rest of the country, where a total of 2,753 cases were diagnosed in the same period

“This is a result which has been checked thoroughly and which is statistically significant,” said Dominique Laurier, head of the epidemiology research laboratory at France’s nuclear safety research body (IRSN

Some people still think smoking does not damage your health!

The Red Flag said...

Ultimately, everybody dies of heart failure.

It's the cause of it that counts.

JohnJ said...

Here's a very interesting link:

Today's safety problems at Russian nuclear power plants lie not only in the technological aspects of plant operation. Russia problems of corruption, theivery and negelct of Standards and regulationsare of direct concern to nuclear power plant safety. Some 15 managers of various levels were fired from Rosatom in 2011 and some 35 were sent packing for the same reason in 2010. Corruption and disregard for standards and regultions resulted

Anonymous said...

The Moscow Times said:

'But it remains to be seen whether the British market will accept Rosatom, being a Russian company with a checkered history — a senior executive was arrested last July on embezzlement charges.'

They'll feel right at home on Anglesey, then!

JohnJ said...

Title: Chernobyl tragedy: the last “gift” from the Soviet regime
Source: Voice of Russia
Author: Dmitry Konchalovsky
Date: Apr 26, 2012

Exactly 26 years ago there was an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Whole regions in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus have become unfit for life, and the number of victims has reached one million people today. And experts are still disputing about long-term consequences of the disaster.

[...] its consequences are endless and uncontrollable, and it is impossible to count the exact number of victims. Scientists are still arguing if the number of one million deaths is valid, but when such big numbers are taken into account, the one thing is absolutely clear – things are in a bad way. Besides, no one can count how many babies could not be born, and on the lives of how many subsequent generations this disaster will tell in the form of cancer.

Has anyone else heard the story about a farmer in one of the contaminated area's in North Wales after Chernobyl when the ministry came to check his sheep.
The ministry came to check the lambs for radiation and found that they did not meet the safety standards and so he was not allowed to sell them. It came to the farmer's mind would they also check a lamb that he had had in the freezer from the previous year.They did and found that it was contaminated as well!

Anonymous said...

JohnJ, yes, the idea that parts of Snowdonia were already contaminated above today's "unsafe" levels pre Chernobyl, presumably largely courtesy of Windscale/Sellafield, and that nobody had actually noticed, has occurred to a few people. Kind of hard to prove now though. Not impossible, but hard.

Stories like yours, if it could be backed up, would make interesting reading.

Anonymous said...

Revelations from yesterdays meeting of the Environmental Scrutiny meeting, that not one of the countless Wind Turbines application applied for to IOACC, comply with Welsh Assemble Policy has sent the council officers scurrying back to the drawing board scratching their heads.

Can anyone one else at the meeting confirm this?

Richard Sletzer said...

Well it is true that radioactivity readings in Snowdonia were high in the late 1940s and 1950s. That's because there was a lot of nuclear testing going on in the atmosphere at the time . Eventually fall-out does come to earth and it does so particularly in areas of high rainfall - which,as we know, is what Snowdonia is.

There really wasn't much of a problem as far as Transwfynydd was concerned - although the lake became slightly radioactive because the water was constantly being recycled through the power station. Yes, the good folk of Trawsfynydd were all issued with tablets to take if anything went wrong - but nothing serious did.

Chernobyl was different. A massive cloud of radioactivity was discharged into the atmosphere over a period of several days. We should salute the - now dead - Russian helicopter crews who dropped lead onto the fire to contain the discharge. We should condemn the UK Governmenet and the Met Office who steadfastly refused to make public any information as to where the radioactive cloud was - even though there were prevailing eastern winds at the time .

In fact it took over a week for the Russian radioactive cloud to arrive over Wales - unbeknown to the people directly beneath it. Another day or so and the worst of it would have been out over the Atlantic. ....But it North East Wales and in Ffestiniog - it rained. The rest is history.

The moral of the story is that nuclear fall-out can get to you even if you don't have a single nuclear power station in your country.

One who was there said...

"Revelations from yesterdays meeting of the Environmental Scrutiny Committee"

I was there. Cllr Durkin a member of the Committee referring to Tan 8. Highlighting, Anglesey does not have a SSA and accordingly. "Outside the SSA's the Tan indicates that there may be potential for wind farm schemes of up to 25MW on urban / brown field sites and for smaller community based wind farms schemes.

The TAN indicates that most areas outside SSAs should remain free of large wind power schemes and that regard should be had to the potential cumulative effect of small proposals.

It will be interesting how the Planning Committee deal with the application in front of them next Wednesday for two Wind Turbines in open countryside which Officers are recommending approval.

mairede thomas said...

The following, taken from the Welsh Planning Inspectorate’s evidence to WAG’s Environment and Sustainability Committee Inquiry into Energy Policy and Planning in Wales, is perfectly clear:-

“While each planning application has to be determined on its merits, the starting point for any determination is the policies of the Development Plan, providing one has been adopted and it contains policies that are relevant to the proposal. Section 38(6) of the 2004 Planning and Compensation Act requires the decision maker to determine the application in accordance with the Development Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

Other important material considerations will of course include national policy, as set out in Planning Policy Wales and the relevant Technical Advice Notes, including TAN8, and ministerial interim planning policy statements (MIPPS). As inspectors act on behalf of the Minister they would normally seek to make their decision in accordance with national policies, unless there are other considerations of substantial weight that would justify a departure from national policies in the particular circumstances of the case.

TAN8 is supportive of small community renewable energy schemes of less than 5MW subject to their meeting normal planning criteria. It indicates that larger schemes for wind turbines (over 25MW) should be concentrated in 7 Strategic Search Areas (SSAs). However it also indicates that local authorities may wish to consider proposals on land outside but adjoining SSAs, providing there is a suitably robust case and there are no planning constraints.”

So it is very simple;-

1. Anglesey is not a SSA.

2. Anglesey’s Adopted Development Plan is also perfectly clear and explicit in its policies which are completely relevant to wind turbine development.

3. The Supplementary Planning Guidance is by definition ‘supplementary’ and cannot change the adopted Plan, merely elaborate it so as to offer guidance to developers and others.

4. As far as I am aware none of the current applications that are larger than microgeneration size is for a “community” scheme.

5. Many of the applications do not meet normal planning criteria and/or are “departures” from the adopted Development Plan.

This is why some people are surprised by the applications and the way they have been handled.

JohnJ said...


Anonymous said...

"mairede thomas"

I know of no-one who could put it better.

The subject is not rocket science, so what do the IOACC planning officers think their playing at?

If these applications are departures, why aren't they been thrown out? or is that a silly question to ask?

Anonymous said...

So the other day we were told that energy island needed to train up our youngsters for Wylfa B now £4m is awarded to retrain the existing workers to become social workers etc, You couldnt dream it up, But hey up it will keep a few gobshites in work or is that wearing out chair leather!

PromoW said...

Also: One of my neighbours has been refused planning permission for a wind turbine (50-60ft high) on the grounds that it will interfere with the new RAF Valley radar facility. Apparently he is 1/2 a kilometer within the exclusion zone (10km - going by google maps) - so it would appear that any turbines over 50-60ft tall and within 10Km of Valley airfield will most likely be refused planning permission.

JohnJ said...

Just come across this:
Dr. Sternglass said the cancer rate for children ages 5 to 9 was very low BEFORE 1945, one case in 10,000, even in states such as Texas that have high rates of chemical pollution because of the oil and gas industry. The rate has since climbed to 100 in 10,000, "overwhelming evidence" of the link between childhood cancer and radiation, he said.

My question is this; why would any SANE person or Political Party want Nuclear Power in the energy mix? and in so doing expose the whole population and the world to cancer?
Whatever else Leanne Wood stands for in this one thing alone (anti-nuclear) she stands Head and Shoulders above the main political parties.
On independence for Wales,I would think that is unlikely!!!

JohnJ said...

So very, very, sad, it speaks for itself!

JohnJ said...

Some people seem to hate Wind Turbines but are they capable of this kind of damage to humanity?

There are homes full of the most grossly deformed children we have ever seen in the history of paediatrics [...] all around Chernobyl. This is new in the history of medicine.

The Red Flag said...

BBC Wales tonight:-

mairede thomas said...

Reuters are reporting a source "with knowledge of the deals" as saying there are 5 interested parties Russia (Rosatom), Chinese, US and Middle East investors. With the 'prize' going to whoever will get it built first!

Had enough said...

There is one remedy to the energy problem.


Who needs this ridiculous unsustainable quality of life anyway?