Time for a new an­ti­nu­clear move­ment

Western Mail - - WM VIEWS OF WALES - Roger Ken­dall Cardiff

AF­TER the UK Govern­ment’s re­jec­tion of the Swansea Bay Tidal La­goon, I was ex­pect­ing an an­nounce­ment about nu­clear en­ergy; not sur­prised but in­wardly an­gry and frus­trated by the politi­cians’ ob­ses­sion with nu­clear en­ergy when it soon came.

Th­ese ex­pen­sive to run in the long term, haz­ardous and cum­ber­some old-style power plants should have been seen as out­moded as long ago as the 1980s. Ger­many has stopped build­ing nu­clear power stations, Ja­pan has had a scare with Fuk­ishima – so a Ja­panese com­pany aims to build one on An­gle­sey. Rus­sia had Ch­er­nobyl, but Rus­sia was and is a dic­ta­tor­ship. France car­ries on in its usual way and EDF – a com­pany owned by the French Govern­ment – is build­ing a nu­clear power sta­tion at Hinck­ley Point, par­tially funded by the UK tax­payer. Wales is set to be sur­rounded by th­ese mon­strous plants.

When will those who sup­port and pro­mote nu­clear en­ergy ad­dress the prob­lem of ra­dioac­tive waste – the in­evitable byprod­uct of their pet schemes? We hear of a “‘halflife” of 1,000 years for this stuff. We haven’t known a pe­riod of po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity any­where like that long. And what about the ef­fects of cli­mate change, with most of th­ese plants near the coast? Then there’s the pos­si­ble end of ar­chae­ol­ogy. What if the where­abouts of the dump­ing grounds for this stuff are lost? Nu­clear is not “green”.

We will surely be cursed by fu­ture gen­er­a­tions for our self­ish, back­ward-look­ing reliance on th­ese plants. There has to be another way and that has to be re­new­able sources of en­ergy. The Swansea Bay scheme would be a pioneer­ing and for­ward­look­ing en­ter­prise and a tri­umph for Wales in show­ing the way ahead in en­ergy pro­duc­tion. Mean­time, I’m sure we can find ways of be­ing less prof­li­gate in our use of en­ergy.

Thou­sands march against Brexit. If only more would rebel against nu­clear power schemes. Time, I think, for a new anti-nu­clear move­ment.

> Amer­i­can cir­cus. Pic­ture taken by Nathaniel Jenk­ins

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