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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2008, 12:17 GMT
Council's 'fight' for new Wylfa
A worker at Wylfa
Permission for a 'Wylfa B' would have to come from Westminster

Anglesey council admits it faces a battle to convince the UK government to build one of the new generation of nuclear power stations on the island.

Council leader Gareth Winston Roberts said talks had already been held with private companies over a new plant.

Wylfa at Cemaes Bay is set to close in 2010 with the loss of 1,500 jobs. It is Wales' only remaining nuclear plant.

Anti-nuclear campaigners have insisted a new station on Anglesey was very unlikely.

The ageing Magnox nuclear reactor, is one of the biggest employers on the island, along with its main customer - the smelting plant Anglesey Aluminium - which depends on it.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA) is looking at a plan to extend Wylfa's life by nine months but the council wants a long term replacement.

UK Business Secretary John Hutton told MPs nuclear power would help secure the UK's future energy supplies and fight climate change.

The challenge we face now is to make sure Anglesey will be high on the list
Gareth Winston Roberts, Anglesey council leader

Local politicians are behind a Wylfa B, but the assembly government is opposed to any new nuclear stations.

However under current planning regulations, any decision on Wylfa as an existing site would be taken by the UK government rather than in Cardiff Bay.

Speaking on Thursday morning Mr Roberts said: "The government is 10 years behind the times on this, but for us, today, this is important.

"This will allow us to discuss with the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA) the possibility of a deal between ourselves, working in partnership with a private company, to have a nuclear power station here on Ynys Mon."

Anti-nuclear protest on Anglesey in 1989
There were protests in 1989 when Wylfa B was being discussed

Mr Roberts acknowledged the council would have to fight to get a station as other places in the UK at Sizewell and Hinckley Point were higher up the list.

"The challenge we face now is to make sure Anglesey will be high on the list by talking to the NDA and hopefully to move fast.

"We have discussed this with private companies before now," he added.

But he said: "I believe that today's announcement will give us new impetus as it clearly gives the NDA a green light to strongly promote Wylfa as a suitable location for new nuclear build."

'Honest'

Ynys Mon MP Albert Owen said it was time to focus on the case for Anglesey.

He said: "Wylfa has the skills base, the expertise and the infrastructure".

Anti-nuclear campaigner the Rev Emlyn Richards said he did not believe for "one moment" that Anglesey would get a new nuclear power station.

"Mrs Thatcher, who was good at getting what she wanted, only managed to get one out of the 10 power stations she wanted built," he said.

This country should follow America, he added, and be "honest enough" to admit that it cannot get rid of nuclear waste.

The assembly government has set up Môn Menai, a partnership with other public bodies and the business sector in Gwynedd and Anglesey, to develop an economic strategy for north west Wales ahead of Wylfa's closure.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
A councillor explains what the announcement means



SEE ALSO
Nine-month extension for Wylfa
08 Nov 07 |  North West Wales
Post-Wylfa group looks to future
20 Feb 07 |  North West Wales
Tackling the UK's nuclear legacy
14 Feb 06 |  Science/Nature

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