Former Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Wigley has said that the case for nuclear power “has to be made with conviction and confidence and with some urgency”.
Lord Wigley said that he was speaking in a personal capacity. His party said in its 2019 General Election manifesto that it “opposes the development of new sites for nuclear power stations”.
However, Dafydd Wigley said in the House of Lords that he was concerned that renewable sources of energy would not be enough to combat climate change.
“Like most parties, my party, Plaid Cymru, has divergent views within its ranks on the issue of nuclear power,” he said.
“Much of this emanates from horror at the thought of nuclear war and I, along with my party, am totally opposed to nuclear weapons. I understand the arguments about deterrence, but it has to go wrong only once and the world is roasted to a cinder.
“But to rule out the use of nuclear energy to replace carbon sources of electricity for that reason is like refusing to manufacture steel because it could be used for guns. The case for nuclear has to be made with conviction and confidence and with some urgency.”
Dafydd Wigley represented the seat of Caernarfon as an MP and then AM from 1974 to 2003 and said that he “served a county that had two active nuclear power stations: Wylfa and Trawsfynydd.”
He called for the UK Government to “get their act together” of Wylfa and said that Trawsfynydd would be an “ideal demonstrator site” for a Small Nuclear Reactor (SMR).
Trawsfynydd and Wylfa are understood to be two of the sites being lined up for the multi-billion pound mini-power stations in plans by the UK Government and Welsh Government.
“They are not rivals but partners in re-establishing north-west Wales as a powerhouse of the economy, and doing so by methods that would underpin the drive for low-carbon electricity and contribute to the world-wide challenge of heading off climate change,” Dafydd Wigley said.
Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist, who is a Government Whip, responded that the UK Government had “noted the growing local and regional interest, and indeed support, for several sites for further nuclear development,” including Trawsfynydd.
“We welcome conversations with stakeholders who are considering whether their assets are potentially suitable for the deployment of nuclear facilities,” she said.