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UPDATE: Nuclear Power Station Building Postponed

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Anglesey breathes a sigh of relief as plans are postponed to build the new Wylfa Power Station.

In December of last year, the people of Anglesey engaged in a protest against the building of 100 new pylons across the island for the purpose of energy transfer from the Power Plant. Fortunately for the Islanders, the building has been postponed for the next 3 years following a funding deficit. We interviewed Bangor University’s own expert on Renewable Energies, Dr Paula Roberts (Senior Lecturer in Environmental Management), to gauge the situation, and give a broader overview of the idea of Nuclear energy:

  1. Is the cancellation of the building of the power station anything to do with the people’s protest?

The Wylfa project is currently suspended for 3 years because Hitachi couldn’t attract sufficient investors to make the economic case for proceeding. This suspension is all about money or lack of it and has nothing to do with public opinion.

  1. If 3 nuclear power stations supply 15% of our energy needs – what do you think will be the alternative for the U.K. to meet every-increasing energy demands?

Nuclear has always been seen as a way of providing baseload electricity, this is the background level of electricity the country needs day and night and fluctuates very little. It is this base load supply that will be a challenge in future but there is a lot of development work into other means of supplying base load from various renewables in countries such as Australia. Electricity storage is probably the most important factor we need to tackle if we are to replace nuclear with renewables, we need a way of ironing out the peaks and troughs of renewable electricity generation and this is. Reducing overall demand by really working on energy conservation methods can and should also be an investment priority, it isn’t rocket science but the UK does this badly in comparison to other European countries.

  1. Do you feel as though nuclear is a viable energy option nowadays?

As it stands, the costs of nuclear are too high and are still increasing. The most expensive renewable technology (offshore wind) is just over half the price and costs are coming down. I’m struggling to see how this will be any different in 3 years’ time frame of the Wylfa suspension unless it gets lots more public money and government have ruled this out.

 

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Anna Ray

Environment Editor 2018-19

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