Energy plea

SNP urged to drop nuclear ban as Hunterston B shuts down

Hunterston B (pic: EDF)
Final shift: Hunterston B

Pressure is mounting on the SNP to drop its opposition to new nuclear power as the Hunterston B station – which has provided a quarter of Scotland’s electricity needs – shuts down at noon amid warnings that it will lead to higher energy bills.

The plant is closing after 46 years service following the discovery of cracks in the graphite bricks that form its core. Industry sources and North Ayrshire council are among those calling for continued nuclear generation on the site.

The closure of Hunterston B, the last remaining reactor of four at the site, reduces the UK’s nuclear capacity by an eighth.

It is one of several nuclear power plants being taken out of commission within several years of each other. The rapid pace of the decommissioning schedule has raised concerns about maintaining electricity generation. Almost half of the country’s nuclear capacity is scheduled for retirement by 2025.

The Hunsterston plant generated enough nuclear capacity to power 1.7m homes and in the short term this gap will be filled by fossil fuels, partly imported gas, until enough renewable resource comes on stream.

There are calls for the Scottish government to allow smaller modular reactors such as those developed by Rolls-Royce which is backed by £450m of UK government funding.

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