Nuclear fallout: Scotland slams Westminster’s energy plans

Scottish leaders have distanced themselves from the decision in Westminster to push ahead with a new generation of nuclear power stations and stressed the northern nation's potential to meet more of its energy needs with renewable sources.

With its vast tracts of relatively sparsely populated land and lengthy coastline, Scotland has traditionally housed more than its share of Britain’s nuclear installations.

But John Swinney, the Scottish Executive’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, reassured his countrymen that Edinburgh had thrashed out a deal with Gordon Brown’s government which meant that none of the proposed nuclear build would take place north of the border.

“The UK Energy Bill provisions on nuclear power do not extend to Scotland,” said Mr Swinney.

“This is a great success for the Scottish Government.

“New statistics show that Scotland in 2006 supplied 92.5% of its energy needs from fossil fuels, renewables and pumped hydro storage.

“The risks and uncertainties of new nuclear power, in terms of waste disposal, decommissioning, security and health concerns, or cost, are obviously far too great.

“Our agenda is clear – Scotland does not want or need new nuclear power. We have massive potential for alternative clean, green energy.

“The installed renewables generating capacity already exceeds that of nuclear. In 2006, overall electricity generation in Scotland increased by nearly a tenth, while electricity generated from nuclear power in Scotland decreased by a quarter.

“Through the further development of new technologies, like carbon capture and storage, we can build a low carbon future without having to deal with the legacy of toxic radioactive for thousands of years.

“And nuclear will not only come at a cost to the development of new technologies, it will hit consumers in the pocket. Scots now face the prospect of increased electricity prices to fund the decommissioning of English nuclear power stations.

“Charges on suppliers to pay for future decommissioning will be passed on to consumers – Scotland will pay for this folly, despite our clear position on resisting new nuclear power.

Sam Bond

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