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I wish I could find the words to express my anger and frustration at this Tory government’s headlong rush to establish nuclear power stations. Now they are spending £300m on a study to build a new fleet of nuclear submarines which would eventually cost the taxpayer £10bn. They have declared their intention to build five new nuclear power stations which directly affect Wales: Wylfa poses a threat to North Wales and the Irish Sea, and Hinkley and Oldbury menace the South Wales coastline.
Why are we pursuing the nuclear option when Germany (the powerhouse of Europe), Italy, Austria and Switzerland have decided to do away with nuclear power and invest in clean renewable energy? Germany is already well on the way to providing half of its energy needs through renewables. With great foresight, it has invested in the infrastructure to harness solar and wind power, providing thousands of jobs in building this infrastructure. We too could be self-sufficient in energy if we harness the massive potential which our unique natural resources provide.
We live in a dangerous world, and will be the target for future terrorist attacks. The more nuclear facilities we build, the more vulnerable we are. It is clear that uranium, the main nuclear fuel, is a diminishing resource, and China, India, Russia etc are fast cornering the world market. This could leave our own nuclear power stations without the means to operate.
Of course, the real reason is that the Tory party – and, yes, even my own Labour party – still aspires to be a world-class power. To do that, they need the plutonium to feed the nuclear weapons, and they can only get it as a by-product of nuclear power.
Our country sinks deeper into debt as each day passes, and our standard of living is ever decreasing, with Tory cuts that target the most vulnerable – the sick, the disabled, the poor, while one in four hospitals face bankruptcy. The government responds by blindly pouring money into this nuclear madness
I remember standing as a young lad with my mam and dad in a Salvation Army open-air meeting, and hearing the words of sergeant Baker ring out as she gave her sermon: ‘There is still time’.
My message to this Tory government is: for the sake of the future of our children and our planet, stop! Reverse your policies while there is still time.
Ray Davies is co-chair of the South Wales Nuclear Free Forum.
This letter was published in The Western Mail, 6 November 2012.
Next issue, we’ll have an article about wind power in Wales.