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Scotland not impressed with UK Tory government’s enthusiasm for nuclear power

THE Scottish Government has rejected UK Energy Minister Greg Hands plea to “rethink” its stance on new nuclear power stations in Scotland. The Tory minister said it’s a “great pity” Scotland has opposed the construction of any fission power plants amid the cost of living crisis and that he would be willing to sit down with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Energy Secretary Michael Matheson to hear their concerns.

It has been a longstanding Scottish Government and SNP policy to oppose nuclear, with the focus instead on the just transition to renewables.

Hands made the comments during a round table with Scottish journalists in London, where he also said there was no reason to re-assess licences for fossil fuel projects in the North Sea – despite persistent warnings from the United Nations on any more oil and gas fields being brought into production.

Scottish Net Zero Secretary Matheson has previously said safety concerns are the main reason the government has rejected any new nuclear sites, adding that “it is probably the most expensive form of electricity you can choose to produce”.

Following the closure of Hunterston B in North Ayrshire in January, due to cracks found in graphite bricks which make up the reactor core, the only functioning nuclear power station in Scotland is the Torness plant near Dunbar, East Lothian.

The UK Government has said it will not “impose” any new nuclear power on Scotland despite
plans to approve up to eight new fission reactors –by 2030, boosting overall capacity up to 24GW by 2050. But Hands has insisted the Scottish government should reconsider its stance.

When The National pointed out that nuclear power is expensive, takes a long time to be brought online and produces harmful toxic waste, Hands said: “This country has an amazing
safety record when it comes to nuclear. …………………..

. Maggie Chapman, the Scottish Greens MSP for North East Scotland, criticised his comments and said that renewables are “cheaper, cleaner and safer” than nuclear, and are easier to scale up.
She said: “Time and again the Tories have shown that they cannot be trusted with our environment. Nuclear power is neither safe nor reliable, and it leaves a toxic legacy that could last for centuries. “As Hinkley Point shows us, it is also very expensive. Any expansion would take years, and need to be paid for on top of skyrocketing bills.

 The National 11th July 2022

July 11, 2022 - Posted by | politics, UK

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