While the first two of those questions remain subjects for debate, an organisation in Wales may have the answer to the third.
Much of Wales remains startlingly unspoiled after nearly three centuries of industrialisation across the United Kingdom, but current plans by the Conservative Government would ring that country of the UK with the worst kind of polluters.
The Tories are keen to flood the UK with the nuclear waste generated by no less than 13 nuclear power plant rebuilds, including eight which will impact on the western coast of Britain: two at Hinkley in Somerset, two at Oldbury in the Severn estuary, two on Anglesey, three planned at Moorside, Cumbria, plus a recently-announced plan to build a Small Medium Reactor inland at Trawsfynydd.
There is also the issue of radioactive mud from the Hinkley A and B reactors being dumped in the sea just off Cardiff, and the rejection by Westminster of the Swansea Tidal lagoon – a renewable energy scheme that could have powered the equivalent of 155,000 Welsh homes.
And let’s not forget the attempt to bribe communities anywhere in Wales to host radioactive waste burial sites – literally sitting on some of the most toxic substances known to humanity.
The plan, it seems, is to cut back on renewable energy and increase nuclear pollution – at huge expense to the taxpayer.
So not only do they want to poison us – they want to make us pay for them to do it. Charming!
The Westminster government’s policy conflicts (deliberately?) with that of the Labour-run Welsh Government, which has three objectives:
- Reduce the amount of energy used in Wales.
- Reduce Welsh reliance on energy generated from fossil fuels.
- Actively manage the transition to a low-carbon economy.
This plan means nuclear energy should be cut as it is neither low-carbon nor renewable. Considerable amounts of carbon are released in the mining, milling and separation of the Uranium which powers nuclear plants from the ore in which it is found – and then it has to be transported. So in the case of Hinkley C, for example, 50g of carbon dioxide are likely to be released for every unit of electricity generated – breaching the Climate Change Committee’s recommended limit for new sources of power generation beyond 2030.
And, of course, supplies of Uranium are limited. This means poorer ores would be processed as supplies run out, increasing the amount of CO2 generated by the process and, once the supply is depleted, we will have prevented future generations from using it in new – and maybe less harmful – ways in the future.
So the Welsh Government should be utterly opposed to the Westminster government’s plan – right?
Of course it isn’t as easy as that. Energy is not a devolved issue, meaning Westminster still has full control over the policy – across the UK.
But the Welsh Anti-Nuclear Alliance has devised a way of getting around that problem:
The organisation has launched a petition, on the National Assembly for Wales website. It does not call for opposition to the Westminster government’s policy because this would be pointless.
It calls for the Welsh Government to take action that will make nuclear power proliferation unnecessary.
The petition asks the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to invest in green renewable energy sources, thus reducing the need for fossil fuels and nuclear energy in Wales. Specifically, this means:
• Supporting emerging low carbon technologies that could put Wales at the forefront of renewable energies and help to slow climate change; and
• Investing in energy sources that do not leave a legacy of radioactive waste, spoil heaps and damage to health and the environment.
If the Welsh Government was able to show Westminster that it was actively engaging in such activity, it may be possible to persuade the political polluters to put away their plans. Remember, these are long-term schemes and it is possible to demonstrate that one course of action may make another unnecessary.
Here’s what you can do:
You don’t have to live in Wales; anyone can sign and the numbers will count towards those needed for a debate in the Welsh Assembly.
Get in touch with your friends and relatives, and get them to sign the petition.
And share the petition – or at least share this article – and urge anybody who may read it to sign.
This is a major opportunity – not just to oppose a hugely dangerous plan to pollute one of the UK’s great natural landscapes but also to become a world-leader in the development and exercise of non-polluting, renewable energy supplies.
Let’s take it.
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