|It isn't only goggles that do nothing.|
Our devolved government's pretty good at that too!
"They (nuclear submarine/Trident) are jobs that would be lost to Scotland as a result of independence as indeed there would be jobs lost to Wales, such for example Wylfa B.
"We will back Wylfa B and the people that work there and the communities that are supported. We know Plaid Cymru would abandon them.
"....I suspect there are many other jobs like those at Faslane that would be lost because of independence.
"If you look at Wales the same case applies with Wylfa B. Plaid Cymru say they wouldn't back the 600 people who work there. We will."
Now there's consistency here. The Welsh Government have made it quite clear that they support the construction of Wylfa B, and it's mentioned as part of their energy strategy published back in February (linked below). Plaid Cymru are officially opposed to nuclear power, and leader Leanne Wood has spoken out against Wylfa B.
However, the picture is much more muddied that that. As you probably know, Horizon dropped their bid to construct Wylfa B, perhaps in part because of Germany's decision to phase out nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster last year.
A few new players have expressed an interest – and although I'm not a fan of nuclear power, objectively Wylfa is in many ways perfect – but nothing appears to have come from it yet. The UK Government have since said that they are still "committed to developing the site", but that came across as stalling to me, or reassurance, just like their promises with regard rail electrification.
There are other energy schemes on Anglesey, much closer to fruition that Wylfa B – a new biomass plant near the former Anglesey Aluminium plant and onshore wind farms for example.
Specific mentions of the number of jobs created at Wylfa B in the First Minister's Energy Wales : A Low Carbon Transition:
"Horizon estimates 5,000 construction jobs at peak and around 800 direct jobs in operation over its lifespan."
So that's 5,000 temporary jobs, which will be gone once Wylfa B is built, and a net-gain of 200 jobs with regard operation of the site. Also, Wylfa B will need to be decommissioned itself at some point down the line. To put things in perspective, more net jobs have been announced today at a cinema/retail development in Flintshire – and not a nuclear reactor or WMD in sight. Though I agree that any move to bring "highly skilled" jobs to Wales should be welcomed, albeit not under these circumstances.
These jobs could easily vanish if the UK Government doesn't find anyone willing to build Wylfa B in the first place. It has nothing to do with independence.
Nuclear power is a costly business, but at least the Welsh Government are honest enough to have said in their report that they see this as a way to "make up ground" in any energy production fall as a result of a transition to low-carbon energy production.
Judging by the nominal amounts of energy Wales produces compared to consumption, it doesn't really have that much use to us. Wylfa B would be, in essence, one of the World's most expensive back up generators, because there hasn't been any long-term energy planning by Westminster for 40 years.
Wales has an opportunity to do something different. Devolution and all that? Oh no, hang on....
Mentions of "Anglesey", "Wylfa" and "nuclear" in the Welsh Government's Programme for Government:
Well as much as "we" support Wylfa B, "we" don't want control of energy projects above 100MW.
"We" actually back decisions taken by the UK Coalition Government - and energy companies = to put back-up generators in our back garden that "we" don't really need.
"We" won't have that much of a say in it, apart from perhaps some supporting services like training and some influence over associated infrastructure.
"We" can't possibly back Wylfa. "We" only do what we're told.
Sustainable development at the heart of Welsh Government policy?
Yeah, right. Keep telling yourselves that.