'Dangers in almost everything we do'
"The Progressive Democrats do not believe that the nuclear option is the correct option for Ireland", writes Fiona O'Malley TD in a recent PD discussion document on Irish energy policy. Fiona O'Malley argues that wind power and potential wave power resources make the adoption of nuclear energy in Ireland unnecessary, and that the cost of developing nuclear energy here would be "disproportionately high". Twenty-nine years ago, Fiona O'Malley's father, Desmond O'Malley, made the case for nuclear power in Ireland at the 1977 Fianna Fáil ard fheis. He was then Minister for Industry, Commerce and Energy, and would later leave Fianna Fáil to found the PDs. These are the highlights of his speech to the 1977 ard fheis.
'Ireland needs new energy sources to replace imported oil, on which she is dangerously reliant. Ireland's gas, so far discovered, is not a large find and although much of it will be burnt in ESB power stations, it has better uses.
We cannot expect very much from wind, solar, wave, and tidal power in the foreseeable future.
The trouble with coal is that it's tricky to handle, dirty to burn and, because it's labour intensive, it's going to go up in price.
Nuclear fuel costs are very low and promise stability for the future.
Nuclear power has also the advantage that sources of uranium supply are politically stable.
The fuel in the reactor, which normally lasts for a 12-month period, ensures a substantial store of primary energy in the country.
It may be said that there is a danger attached to the use of nuclear power or a risk of contamination from it. The fact is that there are dangers in almost everything we do. It is impossible to live in an accident-free or danger- free world. The Carnsore Point reactor will bring many jobs to Co Wexford.
The more electrified a country is, the more advanced it is. And Ireland's needs are rising fast.
Electricity is essential for growth and we must therefore have enough of it to meet needs at all times and at a reasonable price.'