NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
NEW WYLFA PLANT MAKES BRITAIN NUCLEAR ODD MAN OUT
The Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has described plans by Japanese firm Hitachi to develop a new nuclear plant on Anglesey as “very good news for Wales and the UK”.
Some may take issue with Mr Jones dewy-eyed assessment of the project.
Plans to develop a new generation of nuclear plants have included a project for the existing nuclear plant on Anglesey (at Wylfa) for sometime. However, the new-build initiative received a setback last month when the initial contractor, a German conglomerate, pulled out of the project.
Ironically, Britain is the odd man out in Europe with most countries halting development of nuclear new-build in the light of the Fukashima disaster and the collapse of confidence in nuclear power generation in Japan, a country which had previously enthusiastically embraced nuclear power as the solution to its energy needs.
It is also a further irony that Hitachi’s interest in resurrecting the stalled Wylfa programme is in part prompted by the fact that there will be no domestic market in its home country for its nuclear products.
Added to the mix is the fact that the existing Wylfa plant has had a chequered history which has included accidents and periodic shutdowns, some lengthy.
In 2003 the plant had to close both reactors for eighteen months following safety concerns.
The plant had also been at the centre of a major safety incident a decade earlier when in a serious nuclear power station accident a refuelling crane collapsed on the reactor core. A subsequent enquiry, by safety regulators, resulted in a quarter of a million pound fine to the operators (this was the largest such financial penalty accrued
by a nuclear facility until a later BNG event).
In 2000 the Celtic League revealed that there had been no less than 30 unplanned or emergency shutdowns at the twin reactor site over the preceding decade.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
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