My column in The National two weeks ago argued for a transition away from manufacturing weapons of war to firing up our green economy.

Isn’t it also high time we rid Wales of the scourge of nuclear power and redirect resources into clean, renewable energy?

We have that opportunity now. Wales is a nuclear-free zone but for how much longer? Plans to resurrect Wylfa B are effectively dead, even though some politicians continue to tout the idea.

Attention has turned, instead, to the Trawsfynydd site where Rolls Royce is proposing a Small Modular Nuclear Reactor (SMNR), the latest experiment in nuclear fission technology. Except the old problems of safety and cost of storage and waste disposal haven’t gone away.

READ MORE: Ynys Môn council economic chief reiterates Wylfa support

The first SMNR to be approved last year in the US was met by fierce criticism from notable scientists, including Professor MV Ramana of the University of Columbia who described the project as "risky and expensive".

Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear power safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists, highlighted ‘safety gaps’ in the design. Still the Welsh Government, with the backing of Westminster, continues with costly feasibility studies.

We need to stop these studies becoming reality. Quite apart from the obvious dangers, Wales doesn’t need nuclear energy. In fact Wales is a net energy exporter, consuming only half the amount we produce.

Renewables already make up 51% of Welsh needs with gas supplying the remainder. Coal makes up a miniscule 2% of the mix. But with ample wind, tidal, hydro and solar energy opportunities, Wales could generate all its needs from renewable sources if only the political will was there.

READ MORE: Should Wales turn to nuclear power to meet climate change goals?

Next comes the argument that nuclear is part of the solution for a low carbon future. Even some of those in the environment movement, including Zion Lights, a former spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, are now flying the nuclear flag. It's downright irresponsible when you think of Dounreay, Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima; not forgetting the murderous attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

And as climate change brings more severe and prolonged weather events, coastal nuclear facilities are increasingly at risk, local communities left to bear the economic brunt.

According to the Japanese Centre for Economic Research, the decommissioning costs alone of the Fukushima site could amount to $470bn. Add in compensation, decontamination and storage costs and the bill goes beyond $600bn. The fact is that nuclear waste will continue to be a problem for thousands of years to come, even if we were to close down every nuclear facility tomorrow.

READ MORE: How one of the world's biggest anti-nuclear protests started in Wales

For those of us who seek real independence for Wales, pursuing a nuclear future is incompatible with that aim.

"There can be no independence in a dependency culture, of which nuclear is the ultimate example," writes Robat Idris, veteran campaigner with People Against Wylfa B, in a must-read essay Atomic Wales: Embracing Nuclear Colonialism published in The Welsh Way edited by Evans, Smith and Williams.

Idris lays bare the failure of those "in thrall to multinational corporations, subject to the economic whim of Westminster, and totally unwilling to engage and discuss nuclear other than in narrow economic terms - ie jobs". How right he is.

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