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Nuclear-free Wales MPs take war to No.10

WELSH MPs presented an anti-nuclear petition to Downing Street yesterday as opposition hardens to the idea of a new generation of nuclear power stations.

New stations are being considered as part of the Government's energy review, due in June, with Prime Minister Tony Blair thought to have been convinced of the case for nuclear. But he faces opposition from the public and MPs - and from his Cabinet colleague Peter Hain - to any such move.

More than 2,350 people from Wales signed the petition opposing new nuclear stations, which was presented to Downing Street by Labour MPs Nia Griffith and Martin Caton, and Liberal Democrat MP Jenny Willott.

The petition comes almost exactly 25 years after the original Nuclear-free Wales declaration, when all eight Welsh county councils passed a resolution opposing nuclear technology.

Ms Griffith said, "Our opposition to nuclear power stems from the horrific legacy of nuclear waste, the enormous cost and the timescale, which means that new nuclear power stations could not be ready in time to fill the energy gap. Far better to invest in the whole range of renewable technologies such as marine turbines, solar energy and off-shore wind and create far more jobs locally."

The battle-lines over... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
New stations are being considered as part of the Government's energy review, due in June, with Prime Minister Tony Blair thought to have been convinced of the case for nuclear. But he faces opposition from the public and MPs - and from his Cabinet colleague Peter Hain - to any such move.

More than 2,350 people from Wales signed the petition opposing new nuclear stations, which was presented to Downing Street by Labour MPs Nia Griffith and Martin Caton, and Liberal Democrat MP Jenny Willott.

The petition comes almost exactly 25 years after the original Nuclear-free Wales declaration, when all eight Welsh county councils passed a resolution opposing nuclear technology.

Ms Griffith said, "Our opposition to nuclear power stems from the horrific legacy of nuclear waste, the enormous cost and the timescale, which means that new nuclear power stations could not be ready in time to fill the energy gap. Far better to invest in the whole range of renewable technologies such as marine turbines, solar energy and off-shore wind and create far more jobs locally."

The battle-lines over nuclear became even more clearly drawn over the weekend, with Mr Blair suggesting Britain will need to invest in both nuclear and renewable energy. Britain will lose around 20 gigawatts of electricity capacity by 2015, mainly due to the closure of existing nuclear stations.

Meanwhile the Commons Environmental Audit Committee has warned new nuclear stations may not be fully operational until 2030, while the staunchly anti-nuclear Assembly Government has proposed a tidal barrage across the Severn to help fill the energy gap. Mr Hain backed the idea as an alternative to nuclear.

Ms Willott said, "People are still very firmly opposed to nuclear power in Wales. The consensus is less solid about what the alternatives are; there are lobby groups who are very opposed to windfarms for instance. It would be very dangerous if the argument becomes wind versus nuclear. We have a lot of potential in Wales for renewable energy, and that's where there is a need to build a consensus."

So far eight of Wales' 40 MPs have signed a Commons motion calling for Wales to be kept nuclear free. Ms Griffith said she hoped more would sign.

Newport West MP Paul Flynn, who was involved in the 1981 nuclear-free declaration, said, "Wales' voice was heard at that time and I think it should be heard strongly again, against this preposterous idea of new nuclear power stations. This is a blind alley."

On Sunday the Environmental Audit Committee said the first of any new plants would not come on stream until 2017, and as the full generating capacity of such a programme may not be available until 2030, the committee said the country would still face a "generating gap".

Any new stations built in Wales would be likely to be constructed at the existing sites in Wylfa and Trawsfynydd.


Source: http://icwales.icnetwork.co...

APR 20 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2228-nuclear-free-wales-mps-take-war-to-no-10
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