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Last Updated: Monday, 24 October 2005, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
'No case' for new nuclear power
A centrifuge, an essential component for enriching uranium, which can be used as fuel for a civilian nuclear power reactor.
Wales needs to consider all energy options, says Andrew Davies
Nuclear energy is not a commercial proposition in Wales, claims the economic development minister.

Andrew Davies said Wales must instead capitalise on the 250m tonnes of coal that remains underground.

Last week, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said the review of energy policy announced by the prime minister would include civil nuclear power.

Friends of the Earth said nuclear power was "unacceptable" but the assembly should do more to cut carbon emissions.

Mr Davies told BBC Wales that he had been in talks with Mr Wicks to highlight the need for investment in "clean coal" technology.

He said that he must follow the UK government's policy on energy as it was not a fully devolved matter, but that was a situation he would like to change.

Wind turbine
The minister said all options must be considered including wind

He said: "We feel strongly that we need a stronger role.

"I did make the case to Malcolm Wicks that we're in an anomalous position. For example the Cefn Croes wind farm... we had no formal role.

"Our role was very proscribed and restricted and we think that this is inappropriate considering the importance of energy production in Wales."

Mr Davies also said that all energy options had to be considered because Wales needed a wide range of energy sources.

Friends of the Earth Cymru has called on the assembly government to create a new ministerial position for Energy and Climate Change.

The green campaign group said it believed new technology in renewable marine energy, such as tidal and wave power, was not being developed as a way for a drive for nuclear power to succeed.

Civil nuclear power

FoE Cymru director Julian Rosser said: "We need to be reduce the amount of electricity that we use - the assembly has been less effective in pushing energy efficiency.

"In the long tem, we need to reduce the amount of energy in transport. That is not something the assembly is making any efforts on at all, what we're seeing is more road-building going on."

Energy Minister Mr Wicks addressed the British Wind Energy Association conference in Cardiff last week to say renewable energy sources would remain a "crucial part of the mix" of the government's review of energy policy.

He said: "We will be looking across the board, and that includes civil nuclear power, with proposals to be published next year."

The last nuclear power plant to be built in Wales, the Magnox plant at Wylfa, on Anglesey, is due to end of production in 2010.

A 1979 survey found 250m tonnes of good quality coal in Wales, but the pit closure programme during the 1980s has led to only 20m of it being mined.




SEE ALSO:
Bid to speed up nuclear run-down
11 Aug 05 |  Scotland


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