Wales politics

Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood backs Anglesey party on nuclear position

The leader of Plaid Cymru has clarified the party's position on nuclear power and how it relates to Anglesey.

Leanne Wood said although the party's policy is against building new nuclear power stations, Plaid would work to create jobs on the island.

The island's nuclear station Wylfa is due to end production by 2014 but there are hopes of a new station.

Ms Wood said the party had always given local party representatives "the right to make up their own minds".

Hundreds of jobs would be created at a new station as part of the Horizon energy project, which is the subject of French and Chinese investment interest.

The existing reactor, which started producing electricity in 1971, will close by 2014.

Plaid opposes the building of a new nuclear power station in Wales, although Ynys Mon AM Ieuan Wyn Jones, the former party leader, supports efforts to secure a new power station on the island.

Ms Wood, who succeeded Mr Jones six months ago, has been a long time opponent of nuclear power.

But Plaid's nuclear policy has brought difficulties for the party in its strongholds in north west Wales, where jobs in the nuclear industry have been important for the local economy.

Voters on Anglesey go to the polls next May after council elections were postponed for a year after the Welsh government appointed commissioners to run it.

Ms Wood told BBC Sunday Politics Wales: "I'll be telling those candidates in that election to make sure that they communicate Plaid Cymru's clear message with their voters, which is about doing everything we can at local government level, working with the assembly and also at Westminster level to create as many possible jobs as possible on that island".

She later said that this did not mean candidates needed to campaign on the party's national nuclear policy but on supporting local jobs on Anglesey.

"It is disappointing that I have to make my position clear on this when I mentioned support for training so local people can be equipped with the skills needed to undertake these jobs if the go ahead is given," she said.

"The party's has always had concerns about nuclear power. The party has always been opposed to the construction of new power stations on new sites.

"However we have always given local party representatives in Ynys Mon and Meirionydd the right to make up their own minds on questions like extending existing reactors, decommissioning and on new stations on existing sites, balancing the party's environmental concerns with the question of jobs.

"We are a decentralised party and we have pledged to do everything to support the creation of local jobs should there be a decision to build a new nuclear power station on Anglesey and I will do everything possible to support Ieuan Wyn Jones and our local Plaid Cymru candidates who are working tirelessly for the people of Ynys Mon."

Earlier this month, Ms Wood delivered her first leader's speech at conference and promised a "green new deal" to stimulate the Welsh economy.

Ms Wood told supporters in Brecon the party would "aim to provide skills, work, hope and opportunity" for young people.

She also said a Plaid government would establish new national bodies to invest in green energy and boost innovation and enterprise.

Welsh Secretary David Jones also says a future for Wylfa is "critical" to the economy.

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