Following the People Against Wylfa B (PAWB) protest conducted on the Menai Bridge yesterday, Rhun ap Iorwerth says he ‘completely understands the concerns about the Wylfa Development’.
Four years on from the Fukushima disaster in Japan, peaceful protesters gathered on the Menai Bridge to voice their concerns about the oft-criticised development proposal.
Protesters gathered during rush hour traffic, some dressed in anti-radiation suits, to voice their concerns regarding the potential development and the dangers of nuclear energy in general.
Rhun ap Iorwerth said: ‘I have always said that it is not a black and white issue, it is not all bad, it is not all good – it is somewhere in the middle where people have genuine concerns.
‘On balance I think people support the economic potential of Wylfa but I think it is vitally important that people who have deep concerns are allowed to voice those concerns and are listened to.’
The proposed development came under more scrutiny recently after the current plant shut down its reactor to investigate a fault. Mr ap Iorwerth said the development could happen, but barriers need to be overcome.
‘It seems at this point in time that it could well happen but there are lots of barriers in terms of funding that need to be overcome in order to make it happen.
‘The fact that there will always be risks whether it happens or not means that we have to keep on driving other elements of the local economy and continue to look at opportunities through renewables.’
A lot of preparation work will need to be done between now and when the development takes place, if it is to go ahead at all, but Mr ap Iorwerth is sure he is up to the task of doing so.
‘I will keep on pushing in the meantime to ensure that as preparations are made for Wylfa we ensure that job opportunities for local young people are maximised.
‘We will look after our communities at the time of the development if it goes ahead. The Wylfa project brings opportunities and threats; it is my job to ensure that we look at it in its entirety and look after the benefits of Anglesey.’
Mr ap Iorwerth admitted that one of the ideas on the table with regards to renewables is a proposal for a third bridge across the Menai Strait, combined with a turbine to harness power.
Although the former journalist was keen to outline that this is nothing more than an idea on the table at the moment, he said he believes a third bridge would be necessary eventually.
‘The idea certainly hasn’t been progressed in any way but we need to look at opportunities, not so much if, but when a third bridge comes because we will need another bridge at some point in time.’
‘It is a matter I have discussed myself but it is very much just an idea at this stage, an idea that is on the table. If we can be innovative in the use of the bridge then we should do it.’