May I comment on the June 14 report “Wales touts Hitachi reactors,” which focused on the intention of Hitachi Ltd.’s subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power to build a nuclear power station at Wylfa on the island of Anglesey, Wales?
Welsh Economy Minister Edwina Hart is reported as saying that “many locals are looking forward to the Hitachi project.” She did not mention that many locals are definitely not looking forward to a new nuclear power station at Wylfa, and are in fact strongly opposed to it. I am sure that this paper’s readers are familiar with the reasons for opposing nuclear power, as Japan is still living with the effects of the Fukushima disaster.
I would respectfully draw readers’ attention to why I and many others oppose “two or three” new nuclear reactors at Wylfa:
1. Nuclear waste would be stored on site for over 100 years, with the risks of accidents, terrorism and natural disasters.
2. Hart says the project will “create thousands of new jobs during the process of construction.” She does not say that there is not a need for so many jobs in the locality; many migrant workers will take over the area. Nor does she mention that the site is extremely beautiful and that the population increase in the area will necessitate the destruction of farmland and valuable natural habitats. Already many properties have been demolished.
3. In the event of a Fukushima-type disaster, there are no publicly available plans to evacuate the island. Indeed I have information that the local population would be forced to stay. I note that one of the reasons given for the relatively small numbers of immediate human health problems after Fukushima was the fact that the evacuation of the population happened quickly. Hart’s comment that as far as atomic accidents are concerned “we have no concern on that particular issue” is breathtakingly complacent.
4. The economic case for nuclear energy generation does not stack up without huge public subsidies, which should be ruled out in a time of worldwide recession.
I do agree with Hart on one point — that Japanese companies have been very valuable to Wales in the past. I am sure they will be welcome in the future. We appeal to Hitachi and other companies to use their skills and place their investments in renewable energy technology. In the long term, that will be of the greatest benefit to all of us. The Wylfa site, and indeed Anglesey and Wales in general, are rich in natural resources that can be developed!
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.