Friday, October 15, 2010

Wylfa stays open longer

For the present employees at the island's nuclear power station the two year extension to its working life is fantastic news. Currently there is a large generating company with plans it will eventually submit for planning permission to build Wylfa B. Many different sorts of permission will, no doubt, have to be obtained to start building a successor to the present magnox power station. But among those in the know there is little doubt that Wylfa B will happen. Already local property owners have begun snapping up houses and apartments to let out eventually to those involved in the construction of the new power station. Much land surrounding the proposed site has already been purchased as the number of properties boarded up demonstrates when you drive down that way.

We do not fear another Chernoble because we trust our constructors to use the quality materials required to ensure public safety. Safety will, as usual, be built into the planned generating station. The gap between eventual closure of Wylfa as it is now for decommissioning and the rise of the new plant is now much less than it would have been if they had to close at the end of 2010. This is expected to mean the retention of many key workers who would be required at the new plant.

Many staff will be needed during decommissioning and they could make a seamless transition to the new plant at the appropriate time. Decommissioning will also bring further recruitment of a workforce needed to carry out this work. A number of staff will want to take retirement and they will find this more possible now. Then there will be a need for construction workers once building begins for Wylfa B. I know that many workers on this project will be recruited from outside Anglesey but many will be from current residents. On an island that has serious employment problems this is simply good news.

Having spoken to Alan Smith, the project manager for the new company, I know that they have already approached training organisations locally to advise on the standard of training required for their future constructors and eventual staff. So there will be work available for those prepared to train for it. This is good forward planning. I hope and believe that Anglesey is going to "have its day" and this has been a long time in coming! It is vital to have investment on a large scale to secure a future for the island. Many other industries will benefit and this too will mean more jobs. Our future is bright.

Anglesey is an enchanting place. This year has seen a surprising increase in visitors who were still here after the schools began their new years. As I write there are still plenty of caravans still standing on our sites. We have a lot to offer. Some time ago I counted up and there are seventeen beaches with vehicle access. If the wind blows from the south it is sheltered in the north and vice versa. Inland we have some lovely countryside to share. My wife and I prefer to use the narrow lanes where the traffic is largely absent. So many times we can drive over to the library at Llangefni on single track roads and not have to find a passing place to accommodate oncoming cars and lorries. As we drive these narrow lanes we see nature all round us. In season it is not uncommon to find ourselves being raced along by pheasants protecting their young in nearby nests! Buzzards are often perched on telephone poles. Red squirrels abound in some of our forests. What a wonderful place we have to enjoy our retirement! We are fortunate indeed.


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