21/04/2007

Ieuan Wyn Jones & Wylfa B

In the 1880's my great great grandfather moved from Llanelltyd near Dolgellau to Pontypridd, not to become a miner like so many of those who moved south, but because he was an undertaker and the mortality rates were more favourable to people in his line of business in the coal mining areas than they were in rural mid Wales.

Coal mining was a dangerous and unhealthy occupation, which could, and too often did, lead to sudden death through accident. Many of those not taken by accidents suffered the worse fate of debilitating illness that lead to a premature death.

Coal mining was a job that most people I knew in the south Wales valleys during the time that the mines were open, hoped and prayed that their sons could avoid. But yet, when the coal mining industry was threatened with closure, the valleys communities fought tooth and claw to keep the mines open.

Why? Because they knew that if the mining jobs were lost there would be absolutely nothing offered in their place. The loss of those dirty, dangerous and unhealthy jobs in the mining industry has ripped the heart and soul out of the south Wales valleys.

A similar thing happened in north Merioneth when Trawsfynydd nuclear power station closed. An area that had a fairly prosperous working class community became an area of extreme poverty and despair that has never recovered from the loss of those well-paid jobs at the power station. Do those who make glee about Ieuan Wyn Jones' position on Wylfa B really want Anglesey to suffer in the way that the valleys and north Merioneth have suffered?

If, as it seems likely, that the Labour Government is going to build a new generation of nuclear power stations anyway, what is best? That a new power station is built on Anglesey, safeguarding the last vestiges of Island's prosperity, or that a new power station is built elsewhere?

I don't accept the Ieuan is a hypocrite line. Ieuan is no more of a hypocrite than any of those socialist politicians who use to litter their fiery speeches with comments such as our children deserve better than the mines but who then fought honourably to try and to keep the mining industry alive because they knew that nothing better was on offer.

I'm sure that the people of Anglesey deserve better than the potential hazards of the nuclear power industry, but unless or until something better is offered to them I don’t see that Ieuan Wyn Jones, Albert Owen or any other politician from the Island has any choice other than to try to keep the jobs in that industry going for as long as possible, no matter how unsavoury those jobs might appear to be.

Cymraeg: Hen Rech Flin: IWJ & Wylfa B

Other Blogs on Ieuan Wyn Jones' comments about Nuclear Energy:
Cardiff Respect - Sanddef - Ferryside Rant - Peter Black

7 comments:

  1. Interesting take on this issue Alwyn and one I will certainly use in the pub tomorrow.

    I tried your line on the housing issue in the pub last time.Sadly,too much lager got in the way and I was shouted down when I forgot how it went half way through.I'll try again though.

    Gwil ap Tomos

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  2. "Do those who make glee about Ieuan Wyn Jones' position on Wylfa B really want Anglesey to suffer in the way that the valleys and north Merioneth have suffered?"

    I don't think it's ever a question about what I want Alwyn.

    But the people of Wales deserve upfront and honest politics, especially on issues as sensitive as this. That means having clear and open policies which are there as manifesto commitments for people to make up their own minds.

    The Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour all have a policy on this in their manifesto: people can look at that and decide whether or not they agree. Plaid aren't giving people that option and yet it is still a crucial issue in the constituency of the man who could be the next first minister.

    Don't expect the media to simply let that one go!

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  3. Cheers for the comment on my blog, but actually the argument over jobs is spurious. Wylfa is due to close in a few years and there will be at least ten years until the new nuclear power station is built. But transfering to renewable energy would take less than six years and would provide jobs. I enclose our statement:

    RESPECT - KEEP WALES NUCLEAR FREE - BRIEFING #2

    PLAID LEADERS ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF NUCLEAR POWER ARE SPURIOUS

    The Leader of Plaid explains why their manifesto doesn't oppose nuclear power:

    "The reason there is no reference to nuclear energy in our manifesto is because it is a non-devolved issue, with decisions taken at Westminster."

    This was the same argument used by the Leader of Welsh Labour to justify his lack of position on Iraq. It attracted ridicule then & it deserves ridicule now.

    It is also a little disingenuous. In both their 1999 and 2003 Assembly Manifesto's Plaid took a position on nuclear power - only in 2007 does it suddenly become a devolved issue that therefore doesn't require comment, many will suspect this is because the leadership has chosen to support Wylfa B.

    We in RESPECT oppose nuclear power on principle, but even on his own terms, the leader of Plaid's arguments that he has to support a new nuclear power station in Anglesey due to jobs and the local economy are spurious and misleading. In this briefing Adam Johannes from Cardiff RESPECT explains why:

    JOBS - NOT UNTIL 2020!

    Plaid claims this about jobs. But Wylfa Nuclear Power Station in Anglesey is due to close in 3 years. The new nuclear power station - Wylfa B - won't be built until at least 2020! Yet we could transfer to renewable energy sources more cheaply in less than 6 years.

    So these new jobs that Plaid tell us about are years away. What do the people of Anglesey do in the mean time?

    Plaid also ignore the rich job creating possibilities of renewable energy. There is potentially huge employment for workers in the installation of a vast amount of marine current turbines and maybe even their manufacture according to research by FoE Cymru.

    PLAID POLICY MAKES EASIER NEW LABOUR'S NEW PROGRAMME OF NUCLEAR POWER AND RESULTS IN GLOBAL NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION

    The Welsh Assembly has resisted the UK government's interest in building new nuclear power stations in Wales. Ieuan Wyn Jones's u-turn on Nukes represents capitulation. It also facilitates New Labour's plan to embark on a new programme of building nuclear power stations rather than transfering to renewables.

    Plaid are also encouraging nuclear proliferation, if the UK pushes ahead with it's nuclear programme then how can they argue that other countries in the world don't go nuclear? This increases the danger of another Chernobyl and increased pollution: Radioactive contamination from Sellafield can still be found in the Irish Sea.

    ELECTRICITY GAP

    The closure of Wylfa in 3 years will result in an electricity gap. How to fill the gap? The government want to continue down the nuclear power/nuclear weapons route. But nuclear power is massively expensive and relies on millions of pounds of tax payers money in subsidies. Plaid are closing the door to renewables filling the gap by supporting Wylfa B.

    Plaid and New Labour want to spend 10 years building Wylfa B, a new nuke on Anglesey. But we could transfer to renewables much faster and much cheaper. Wylfa currently provides around 30% of Wales' electricity. Existing and proposed offshore and onshore windfarms could generate almost the same amount of electricity in less than 6 years, and tidal lagoons on the severn and Swansea Bay might be able to generate more electricity than Wales needs.

    The prospects for renewable energy on Anglesey are actually pretty favourable, just off the Wylfa headland there's a very strong marine current flow, some environmentalists argue that massive amounts of renewable energy could be coaxed through underwater turbines - possibly rivalling the output of Wylfa. So the choice is a speedy transfer to renewables and educating the electorate, or copping out and arguing for a new nuke that probably won't be built until 2020 at the earliest and would rely on massive public subsidies and pave the way for more nuclear power stations.

    There is potentially huge employment for workers in the installation of a vast amount of marine current turbines and maybe even their manufacture according to research by FoE Cymru.

    So the choice is between cleaner, cheaper, more environmentally friendly job creating renewables or Plaid and New Labour's expensive, dangerous, unclean, unsustainable, polluting new Nukes.

    RESPECT says make Wales a 'global showcase for clean energy' and demonstrate that nuclear power is unnecessary, unsafe, unclean and uneconomic.

    PLAID CYMRU? - NO THANKS!

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  4. Look until the new technologies come on line then nuclear is about as clean and practical as it gets. We certainly don't need any lessons from the infantile revolutionaries of Respect and their new Islamofascist friends.

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  5. The technologies already exist fool!

    As I stated. We could transfer to renewables in 6 years, Wylfa B won't be built until at least 2020

    So hardly much good for jobs and workers in Ynys Mon!

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  6. Monwr Niwcliar29/04/2007, 03:41

    If Labour press ahead with their new generation nuclear power station strategy then the smaller stations should be on grid by about 2017 not 2020.

    Wylfa can continue producing electricity until 2010, if a replacement was likely its life could be stretched to 2015.

    So Respectable Citizen's claim that Wylfa jobs would be lost before a new station was built is wrong.

    Trawsfynydd kept on all staff for 3 years during the first stages of decommissioning, and most staff for a further two years, if the same happened at Wylfa then a new station could be built before few if any staff at Wylfa A were made redundant.

    Whatever jobs might be available in renewables and green energy - what sort of guarantee is there that those jobs will be on Anglesey? None.

    Does Respectable Citizen suggest the people of Anglesey should "get on their bikes" like the Tory's suggested the South wales Miners should do after they closed the mines?

    Well done Fart - a good post

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