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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 April 2007, 19:37 GMT 20:37 UK
Plaid leader backs nuclear plant
Wylfa power station
The Wylfa nuclear power station opened in 1971
Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones has backed building a new nuclear power station in the area he has represented for the past 20 years if certain conditions are met.

The decision to support in principle replacing Wylfa on Anglesey with a new station in the next decade is at odds with many Plaid members' views.

Plaid's assembly election pre-manifesto also opposes nuclear power.

But Mr Jones said he had a "responsibility to defend jobs" there.

The Plaid leader has been either MP or AM since 1987 for Anglesey, where the Wylfa nuclear plant is due to close by the end of the decade.

Although the manifesto itself does not mention nuclear power, it commits the party to bringing "clean secure energy to communities across Wales by supporting a range of alternatives".

The alternatives, the document suggests, are marine power, micro generation and fuel cell technology.

Speaking at an election launch at Menai Bridge on Thursday, Mr Jones set out three conditions for a new power station on Anglesey.

Ieuan Wyn Jones
I have a responsibility to my electors
Ieuan Wyn Jones
Mr Jones defended his right to take the position.

"I want to see the kind of investment it would bring, the number of jobs that would be created and how any potential companies would deal with the waste" he said.

He said: "I have a responsibility to my electors, the people who elected me.

"I have a responsibility to defend jobs on Anglesey".

Mr Jones' opponents on the island criticised his comments.

Conservative candidate James Roach accused him of lacking commitment.

"Wylfa already has the necessary skills base and they have already fought through the issues of technology and waste disposal," he said.

Mr Roach added: "It is astonishing that the present Assembly Member for Anglesey, knowing the importance of this issue, is still only prepared to sit on the fence."

'Full confidence'

Labour's Jonathan Austin said Mr Jones was guilty of "fudging".

He said: "People want to know whether their next Assembly Member will support Wylfa B, so important is it to the local economy.

"I will support a new Wylfa power station."

Liberal Democrat candidate Mandi Abrahams expressed some sympathy for Ieuan Wyn Jones' position, but said she opposed new nuclear power stations, wherever they were built.

"He is in a difficult position being leader of his party and it will undermine him both as a leader and as an AM," she said.

Ms Abrahams added: "Our policy is completely clear, with no equivocation at all."

Independent candidate Peter Rogers said Plaid Cymru did not know the importance of the nuclear industry to the island.

"It's time that Plaid Cymru understood that the economy of Anglesey depends on Wylfa B," he said.

"People here need to have full confidence in the commitment of the assembly candidates on this issue and this is no time to question the importance of nuclear power to the island," Mr Rogers added.

Labour 36%
Conservatives 23%
Plaid Cymru 20%
Liberal Democrats 15%
Others 6%
Source: ITV Wales/NOP voting intention phone poll

  • Meanwhile, all the parties were studying the results of an ITV Wales/NOP poll of voting intentions on 3 May.

    Across the 40 constituencies it indicated Labour would get 36% of the vote, down 4% on the 2003 assembly election result.

    The Conservatives were in second place in the survey on 23%, up 3% and Plaid Cymru third on 20%, down 1% on four years ago.

    The Liberal Democrats were up 1% on 15%, with 6% of respondents saying they would vote for other parties.

    The poll findings were broadly similar for the 20 regional 'top up' seats, elected by proportional representation.

    Labour 35%
    Conservatives 24%
    Plaid Cymru 20%
    Liberal Democrats 15%
    Others 5%
    Source: ITV Wales/NOP voting intention phone poll

    35% said they would vote Labour and 24% opted for the Conservatives.

    The support for the other two main parties was the same as in the constituencies.

    The poll predicted that there would be a 45% turnout, 7% higher than in 2003.

    1,500 people were interviewed across Wales by telephone between 23 March and 2 April.

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