| 13.3°C Dublin

Time for Ireland to go nuclear, says Fianna Fáil senator


Debate: Ned O’Sullivan is against ‘ugly windfarms’. Photo: Tom Burke

Debate: Ned O’Sullivan is against ‘ugly windfarms’. Photo: Tom Burke

Debate: Ned O’Sullivan is against ‘ugly windfarms’. Photo: Tom Burke

It's time for Ireland to go nuclear instead of opting for "ugly windfarms", a Fianna Fáil senator insists.

Ned O'Sullivan's comments in favour of nuclear energy will alarm his party's allies in Government, the Green Party.

Calling for a debate on "clear" nuclear power, Mr O'Sullivan says: "Over-reliance on wind power is turning our beautiful rural landscape into a forest of ugly windmills."

He also insists it was a mistake to protest against the building of a nuclear power plant at Carnsore Point in Co Wexford half a century ago.

"Resistance to nuclear energy is not, in my opinion, anything like as strong as it was in the 1960s," he added.

"We are all committed to the target of 70pc renewable energy by 2030, but how many of us believe it can be attained? On any given day last week, over 60pc of our electricity was generated from gas.

"My own county of Kerry has seen an inexplicable rush to facilitate planning for even bigger and uglier windfarms, some of them in built-up, ­suburban areas."

He maintains that nuclear power is now safe and becoming increasingly efficient in the generation of cheap energy for all.

"For many people, nuclear power creates fear - understandable fear," he said. "People think of Chernobyl and they think of nuclear weapons.

"But we are now in the era of smaller, modular nuclear reactors. It is very likely that most EU countries will be utilising smaller nuclear modules in the next decade."

The Citizens' Assembly on climate and the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action had both "inexplicably failed to properly address the option of nuclear generation", he declared.

A debate should be held as early as possible in the Oireachtas, insists Mr O'Sullivan, who generated massive media coverage six years ago when he warned that something needed to be done about aggressive seagulls in Dublin.

Quoting US President Franklin D Roosevelt in support of nuclear power, he said: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

Irish Independent