Ministers, divest from Moorside now

27 May 2018

Tony Lywood's column "Ministers, invest in Moorside now" reminds me why we need the Green Party.
There is currently a debate going on between Japanese and UK newspapers as to what Theresa May has promised to do for the proposed new nuclear Wylfa plant on Anglesey. She has promised UK taxpayers money to subsidise Hitachi to the tune of £2 billion, according to the Japanese press. She denies this in the UK newspapers. The situation may have become clearer by the time this letter is published. If she has made that promise, does this make it more or less likely that she will also subsidise a Korean firm to build Moorside?
We neither need nor can afford nuclear power.
We don't need it because we have adequate clean energy sources available with tumbling prices and amazing progress in battery storage which make it the growth area of energy production. With the same effort put into retro-fitting energy efficiency measures in our old and leaky housing stock and introducing demanding building standards for new build properties we could be self-sufficient in energy and free from reliance on foreign firms and foreign Governments, and provide more jobs than those operating nuclear plants.
We can't afford nuclear power. Our Government seems unable to afford to properly fund the health service, to provide adequate care for the elderly and adequate food, clothing and shelter for the those in our society who need it, which should be a higher priority. Nuclear power has costs in looking after the radioactive waste in perpetuity which cannot be calculated.  Its upfront building costs are enormous - and the ongoing costs of finding, mining and processing the fuel are all at the whim of the exchange rate and foreign countries.
At the Copeland by-election last year all the other candidates were falling over themselves to back Moorside. Only Jack Lenox the Green Party candidate pointed out that no-one can guarantee that Moorside will be built and that Copeland should be planning for a future without it. There will be work at Sellafield for many years using the expertise there to decommission our aged power stations and look after nuclear waste. Less dependent on the nuclear industry, with a better balanced economy, Copeland could be a better place to live and work.
Let's not continue the same old story which has not brought wealth - or even comfort to many of the families of Copeland where some of the poorest wards in the country are still to be found. If there is a difference between Tories and Labour, let's see it in energy policy. For now the Green Party is the only party looking to the future and seeing a clean solution to our energy needs.

Jill Perry

Published in Whitehaven News 23.5.18

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