AS ANGLESEY politicians and top brass in the council hotly welcome news of the recent launch of Great British Nuclear with its implications for Wylfa, anti-nuclear campaigners are stepping up their opposition to any revival of the sector. GBN is the government body aiming to drive through a massive revival in the UK’s nuclear industry.
Wylfa, near Cemaes, on the north coast of Anglesey, is being tipped as a potential site for development. Both the council, and the island’s MP Virginia Crosbie, have championed nuclear. Ms Crosbie attended the GBN launch held by the Energy and Net Zero Secretary Grant Shapps, at the London’s Science Museum last week.
She described it as a “red letter day for the island” which would set in motion a “huge drive towards clean nuclear energy, our energy security and a whole new era of jobs, research and investment for the UK and especially for north Wales”. Senior members of Anglesey County Council had also avidly welcomed the new body, saying they hoped it would help provide “clarity and confirmation” over UK nuclear developments and the plans for Wylfa.
The council said on its website that Wylfa was “the best site for a new nuclear development, be it a GW or modular scale development.” Council Leader and Economic Development portfolio holder, Councillor Llinos Medi, had said north Anglesey communities “still felt the pain” after Horizon Nuclear Power’s decision to withdraw from the Wylfa Newydd project in 2020.
She hoped to see “real momentum” from GNB along and” confirmation of a timetable for a development on the Wylfa site,” which would allow the council to work towards “securing prosperity for our communities.”
And Council Chief Executive, Dylan J. Williams, said he hoped it would bring jobs and supply chain opportunities.
He said: “We are very eager to work with Great British Nuclear in the future. Our aim is to use existing expertise and understanding within the county council’s Energy Island Programme to ensure that a development on the Wylfa site, be that a GW or modular scale development, delivers transformational benefits for the island.”
Chairman of the Wylfa Site State Holder Group councillor Aled Morris Jones added: “We welcome the announcement of the launch of Great British Nuclear, this is a massive step forward in the renaissance of the nuclear industry industry in the UK.
The Wylfa site is the premier site that can be developed and we in the community of north Anglesey look forward to the exciting development which lays a head in the coming years.”
However, anti-nuclear group PAWB (People Against Wylfa B) had expressed “frustration” at politicians “clinging to the idea of nuclear.”
It comes as anti-nuclear campaign groups in Wales are about to embark on a 44 mile march (72 kms) from Trawsfynydd to the Eisteddfod at Boduan, in support of a nuclear free Wales.
The walk is being organised by CND Cymru (the Welsh Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), CADNO (the Society for the Prevention of Everlasting Nuclear Destruction) and PAWB (People against Wylfa B).
Setting off from Trawsfynydd, on August 2, for four days, marchers will go in stages across Gwynedd, before a final rally at Boduan, site of this year’s National Eisteddfod, on August 6. A public meeting will also start at 3.30pm in Pabell y Cymdeithasau 2 on the Eisteddfod site.
Along the march participants will run stalls, distribute leaflets, and host film screening to protest nuclear projects in North Wales.
The campaigners are supported by the Welsh Nuclear Free Local Authorities, which is opposed to Westminster and Cardiff plans to redevelop nuclear plants at the Trawsfynydd nuclear site in Gwynedd and Wylfa.
March organiser Sam Bannon from CND Cymru urged anyone opposed to nuclear power to join the march saying the action demonstrated “opposition to the rehabilitation of this unsafe, costly, and antiquated form of energy production that distracts from the goal of zero net carbon emissions and contributes directly to the production of nuclear weapons.”
The events also coincide with the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. FLA Welsh Forum Chair Councillor Sue Lent said ” “Instead of nuclear, we want to see investment in Wylfa and Trawsfynydd so they can be transformed into sites of engineering excellence for the development and deployment of renewable technologies and storage solutions.”
Dylan Morgan representative for PAWB, who runs a bookshop in Llangefni said: “It is frustrating to see Ynys Môn councillors and officials still clinging to hope that a nuclear development will come to Wylfa.
“The Nuclear Industry Association has itself admitted that only large nuclear project at once can be built in the British State due to limited skills. With Hinkley Point taking up all the skills at the moment, and for years to come, we’re not going to see any developer coming to Wylfa soon.
“The cost of living crisis has also hit the nuclear sector, it was recently noted that the Nuscale 65MW modular reactor has now doubled in price coming in far more expensive than renewable technologies, notably wind and solar.
“Larger modular reactors such as the 470MW Rolls Royce and 300MW GEHitachi models will have undoubtedly skyrocketed in price too.
“The official launch by Grant Shapps was once again light on details and true financial costs of nuclear. What they do admit is that public subsidies called the Regulated Asset Base are needed to get any new nuclear projects off the ground. That is a fancy way of saying they will add a nuclear to our electricity bills which continue to be very high.
“Do Ynys Môn politicians at the various levels of government support such a nuclear tax? That will be difficult to sell to electors.”