Welsh Anti-Nuclear Alliance launch energy petition

Recently re-launched anti-nuclear group WANA is pressing the government to invest in renewable energies in light of a growing number of planned nuclear reactor and waste sites across Wales.

Hinkley A and B
Hinkley A and B

Hinkley Nuclear Power Stations A (left) and B (right).

Rob Cole

The Welsh Anti-Nuclear Alliance (WANA) has launched an e-petition calling on the Welsh Government to move away from nuclear energy and invest in renewable alternatives.

WANA ceased operations in 2010 but was re-launched on 14 April 2018 in Machynlleth, Powys – 30 years after it was originally formed – as a result of increased activity on the nuclear energy front.

At the re-launch meeting, which called for a reignited debate over Welsh energy policy, the group announced what has come to be known as the Machynlleth Declaration, which states: ‘Political leaders in Wales should wise up to what is happening in the nuclear industry now as there are a number of issues affecting all parts of Wales and they need to take action before it is too late’.

The main issues identified by WANA are:

  1. New-build plans for two nuclear reactors at Wylfa on Anglesey, two at Hinkley Point, two at Oldbury and two at Moorside in Cumbria – all of which will impact on Wales and its coastline; these developments are reliant on huge subsidies for foreign companies;

  2. Proposal to use Cardiff Bay as a dump for Hinkley Point mud containing heavy metals and unknown levels of plutonium, uranium and other radioactive substances; dumping is due to start any day now!;

  3. A nuclear waste dumping consultation exercise – the industry has yet to find a solution for the 60 years of highly radioactive waste already accumulated and yet they plan to produce far more – this is an immoral burden for future generations; and

  4. Proposals for Small Modular Reactors at Trawsfynydd.

The statement continues: ‘Political leaders need to recognise that all of these developments are unacceptable in a country that has more than enough renewable energy solutions of its own. They need to make it clear that Wales will not become the sacrificial lamb for a dangerous and outdated technology that will cost the earth and is no solution to climate change.’

WANA’s Declaration urges the Welsh Government to turn away from nuclear and embrace the homegrown renewable options that Wales has to offer, which can ensure a green future for Wales without any of the dangers posed by toxic waste, accidents or malicious intent inherent in nuclear energy, in line with the ‘Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (Wales) 2015’, introduced to improve the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of Wales.

WANA has already been proactive in spreading its message, with a number of postcards bearing the Machynlleth Declaration sent to Welsh Assembly members, in addition to its recently-launched ‘Green Energy for the Wellbeing of Future Generations E-Petition’.

The e-petition calls on the Welsh Government to invest in green energies and reduce the need for fossil fuels and nuclear energy. More specifically, the e-petition calls for the government to:

  • Support emerging low carbon technologies that could put Wales at the forefront of renewable energies and help to slow down climate change;

  • Invest in energy sources that do not leave a legacy of radioactive waste, spoil heaps  and damage to health and the environment; and

  • Fit energy policy with the ‘Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (Wales) 2015’, which offers a huge opportunity to make long-lasting, positive changes for current and future generations particularly around clean energy.

WANA is particularly concerned with recent developments that have seen the prospective Swansea Tidal Lagoon project dropped by the UK Government on the grounds that it was too expensive, despite millions of pounds of public money going into the Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Plant, with costs spiralling to around £19.6 billion by the summer of 2017, with above-ground construction on the new reactors yet to commence.

The e-petition seeks to dispel notions that nuclear is a low-carbon source of renewable energy, citing the work of J. W. Storm van Leeuwen and P. Smith in Nuclear Power: The Energy Balance, which highlights the amounts of carbon released during the mining, milling, separation and transportation of uranium for use in nuclear energy, and Professor Keith Barnham, who states that more than 50 grammes of CO2 will be produced per unit of electricity generated at Hinkley Point.

You can view the ‘Green Energy for the Wellbeing of Future Generations E-Petition’ on the Welsh Assembly website.