When reporting on highly controversial and sensitive Wylfa/nuclear power issues please take care to avoid the following pitfalls:
Reported as ”fact” exaggerated, unsubstantiated claims of new job numbers
Remember, Anglesey politicians and councillors are desperate to seem to be ”doing something’’.
Anglesey is a highly marginal constituency – the only Westminster seat represented by 4 different parties in recent decades.
Following years of dysfunctional governance Anglesey Council’s Executive function was taken over in 2011 by the Welsh Government.
Supposed popularity of nuclear power on Anglesey reported as ”fact”
An independent survey* amongst a representative cross section of 500 people in Anglesey and Bangor area held BEFORE the Fukushima disaster and recent Horizon pull out showed wide concern over nuclear and support for alternative energy.
* PDF of survey here:
Anglesey has a wide diversity of rural/urban, linguistic, political, social, economic communities. As with all issues, support for nuclear is limited to certain groups and many other shades of opinion/apathy/cynicism exist.
The family of Caerdegog Farm received massive support locally when they stood firm against the threat of compulsory purchase farmland for a new Wylfa plant.
Unsubstantiated economic claims reported as ”fact”
Wylfa B was originally justified in 2006 as being vital to supply power to the Anglesey Aluminium, Holyhead for years to come. Yet the plant’s closure was announced a short time afterwards, and subsequently closed 2009.
The announcement by Horizon, March 2012, to pull out of Wylfa B was no surprise. The government unable to afford and private investors unwilling to bet on a project with so many problems.
The area around the current Wylfa plant is one of the most impoverished areas in UK despite having the ‘benefit’ of a plant for decades.
Nuclear power firm EDF’s share price went down by almost half in 2011-12.
Decommissioning jobs not included in report
It is not correct to report that all the jobs will go when the current Wylfa plant stops generation – hundreds of jobs will remain for years to decommission.
Wylfa’s ”good safety record” reported as ”fact”
Nuclear Electric were fined £250,000 with £138,00 costs for safety breaches following an accident on 31, July,1993.
The old Wylfa plant was dogged by technical problems and reactor 2 was shut down for ever on April 25, 2012.
Nuclear as ‘low-carbon’ energy as ”fact”
Although the electricity production is low-carbon, carbon footprint of the nuclear process is highly carbon-intensive when inclding uranium mining, milling, enriching, transportation, construction using vast amounts of concrete, infrastructure development and decommissioning.
And please –
Avoid the pitfall of labelling speakers from the pro-nuclear lobby as ”experts”.