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More Scots support nuclear power in energy mix

Torness vid

Torness, one of the current nuclear generators in Scotland

Scottish Government ministers are coming under pressure from SNP supporters to drop their opposition to new nuclear energy.

A significant number of the party’s backers are among a majority now favouring the inclusion of new nuclear power in the energy mix, according to a poll.

Modular reactors being designed by companies such as Rolls-Royce are seen as a key to ensuring the country maintains energy security and transitions to clean sources. The EU has recently seen the need to re-classify nuclear as a green energy source. Opponents continue to point out that any nuclear power generator will still produce waste and do not represent value for money.

A survey by Britain Remade, a new organisation which bills itself as a pro-growth group, found that almost 55% of Scots polled would support new nuclear if it helped the country reach net zero targets. Almost a third (29%) were against nuclear and the remainder did not express a preference.

It revealed that 44% of SNP supporters believe nuclear power should be included in Scotland’s energy mix with 39% opposed.

Britain Remade is due to publish a report into how Scotland can help improve energy security and bring down bills by 2030.

Its poll found that 84% of Scots are concerned about the UK’s reliance on importing energy. On oil and gas, 57% were in favour of awarding new North Sea licences and 28% were against, delivering another snub to SNP government policy which is opposed to new oil and gas exploration, although First Minister Humza Yousaf has been giving mixed messages on energy policy.

Scotland has two nuclear stations currently generating electricity, three civil nuclear sites at advanced stages of decommissioning, and three nuclear defence sites. 

The government is supportive of extending the operating lifespans of Torness and Hunterston B, “providing that strict environment and safety criteria continue to be met”.

It says that prolonging the lives of these stations will help to ensure Scotland retains a secure energy supply over the next 10 years, while the government increases the proportion of energy generated by renewables and cleaner thermal generation technologies.

“We are opposed to the building of new nuclear stations using current technologies, because and we believe that nuclear power represents poor value for consumers,” it says. “This is clear from the contract awarded by the UK Government to Hinkley Point C nuclear station in Somerset, which will result in energy consumers subsidising its operation until 2060.”

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