Saturday, 2 June 2012

Anglesey without Wylfa B?

In my humble opinion nuclear power does have a role to play as part of a mix of electricity supply. However, it seems that nuclear power does not make commercial sense, something I have  posted about before.

Direct subsidy from the UK Government for nuclear power would be against EU laws, which means you have to find a back-door way of providing nuclear subsidy - which is by getting the consumer to pay more, estimates vary as to how much.

But then again what are the alternatives? - especially if we are to meet our legal requirement for reducing carbon emissions.

Putting the above to one side, another argument for Wylfa B has been the number of jobs it would retain and create, especially in one of the poorer regions of the UK. It has been seen by many local politicians as a 'golden cow' that would somehow deliver great prosperity to the island. And doubtless in many respects it would, but with the world heading for recession and a period of stagnation (worse case scenario a depression), what realistic hopes are there of investors coming forward to fund a project knowing that other similar schemes have not been completed on time and are well over budget.

In other words do we have a 'Plan B' should Wylfa B not go ahead? - after all Wylfa B forms a fundamental part of the Energy Island concept.

The protest group PAWB does have such a plan, and they have published a  Manifesto for Môn.

They claim the Manifesto outlines how 2,500-3,000 jobs could be created on the island if a realistic strategy was adopted.

And it has strong support from Sir Roger Jones, the former chairman of the Welsh Development Authority whom said to PAWB “Congratulations on the Manifesto document. I strongly support your vision. Thank you for putting so much thought in to what we can do.”

I haven't read the PAWB manifesto and will do so soon. Their website says the manifesto acknowledges the other important industries based on the island, notably tourism and agriculture, and recognises the importance of safeguarding a clean and unpolluted environment for their further development and promotion -  which I think most of us would agree with.


kp said...

This 'golden cow' was also a beast of the 1970's. Unfortunately, it singularly failed to produce any useful offspring.

Perhaps 'plastic cow' would be a more suitable term for Wylva B. Deceiving it most certainly is, a deliverer of great prosperity it most certainly is not!

The Red Flag said...

Most of the construction jobs connected to Wylfa B will have little input into the island's economy. Most will be imported contract labour who will be billeted in a special camp to be built on the Penrhos Coastal Park. They will work 12 hours a day, every day for 6 weeks at a time and in their 2 weeks off will be flown back to their country of origin. For their 6 weeks 'up' time, their every requirement - from laundry right through to catering and recreation will be supplied 'in-house'. As a pointer, look at the construction of the Killingholme refinary. Read the council's own working document - in which they define 'local' as within 90 minutes commuting time of the site. That makes Chester and the Wirral local and they are in a different country!.

As for staffing after it is built, most of the current Wylfa A workers will have moved on or retired. The skills in a lot of instances will have to be supplied by workers brought in from outside ( in fact a lot of the current workforce do not live on Anglesey and as such spend very little - if any, money into the local economy). Apart from which, it will be a more efficient station to 'A' and as a result will require fewer staff.