The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has registered with the Planning Inspectorate’s inquiry considering Horizon Nuclear’s application for a ‘Development Control Order’ to build nuclear reactors at the Wylfa site in Anglesey. NFLA today publishes its core concerns with this application and why it thinks the application should be rejected. (1)
Under the Government’s National Policy Statement process, many of the core issues around new nuclear build are supposed to have been decided upon by Parliament, and these inquiries rather consider issues of ‘local’ impact. Yet, the Government is currently consulting on an update of this process given that not one new nuclear reactor is near to being approved since the statement was agreed by Parliament almost a decade ago.
For NFLA, it is highly regrettable that the consideration of Horizon Nuclear Power’s application for a Development Control Order for the Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Power Station is reliant on Government National Policy Statements which are totally out of date. Nuclear power stations are clearly not economically competitive, cannot be built when required by 2025 and energy efficiency measures and cheaper low carbon energy alternatives mean there is no longer a need for them.
In what will form its full written response to the Planning Inspectorate, NFLA argue:
- The proposal put forward by Horizon Nuclear Power for this particular site on the Island of Anglesey is totally inappropriate and should not be approved.
- Building such a large infrastructure project in a remote rural area like Anglesey is likely to increase local unemployment in the longer term, and have a disruptive impact on the local economy. Going ahead with Wylfa Newydd is likely to detract attention from the far greater job-creating potential of other industries, such as a domestic energy efficiency programme, and the offshore renewable industry, and may actually dissuade companies from setting up in Anglesey, as well as damaging existing industry, such as tourism and agriculture, which rely on the areas reputation for a clean environment to attract business.
- It is also likely to be particularly disruptive to the future of the Welsh Language on the island.
- Wylfa B would produce nuclear waste which would contain almost 70% of the radioactivity as the existing waste burden, and which will most likely need to be stored on the Anglesey site for at least the next 120 years.
- If there were an accident at Wylfa B which required the evacuation of an area similar to the area evacuated around Fukushima, experience suggests this would cause complete chaos because of the limited capacity of routes to the mainland.
- Given that alternatives to Wylfa B do exist which are cheaper and can be implemented more quickly, it is particular perverse to accept the rather devastating impact the proposals will have on designated conservation sites.
- The impact of sea level rise on the proposed site needs to be thoroughly examined in the light of the latest scientific projections on the impact of climate change.
NFLA UK and Welsh Forum Co-Chair, Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
“NFLA are responding to this local planning inquiry given its consistent belief that new nuclear facilities are not the primary answer for delivering low carbon energy. And that’s without even talking of the waste, the emergency planning, the environmental or the safety concerns from a new nuclear programme. The Government’s imposed National Policy Statement process prevents a full and detailed forensic inquiry of a Wylfa B development, as it precludes fundamental areas of concern somehow considered by Parliament in a vote from a decade ago, which seems a completely ridiculous way to go about a planning inquiry to me. Wylfa B is not the answer to our future energy needs – instead we should pursue a wide renewable energy mix, energy efficiency and energy storage schemes that would be cheaper and more easily deliverable.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) NFLA New Nuclear Monitor 54, ‘Responding to Horizon Nuclear’s Development Control Order application for Wylfa B’, August 2018