Power project

Jack draws up nuclear energy plan for Scotland

Rolls-Royce small modular reactor
An impression of Rolls-Royce’s small modular reactor

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has asked the UK energy minister to begin preparing for a nuclear power plant to be built in Scotland.

The SNP is opposed to nuclear energy but during an appearance at a House of Lords Committee, the Scottish Secretary predicted a unionist administration will be in power in Scotland after the next Holyrood election in 2026.

Responsibility for energy is reserved to Westminster, but Holyrood has control over planning and environmental regulations and has consistently obstructed any move to build nuclear plants in Scotland.

The UK government intends to develop small modular reactors, which are cheaper and faster to build than previous generations of power plants, across eight sites in Britain. Aero engine maker Rolls-Royce is among the companies that have developed these mini-plants.

Torness, in East Lothian, which began operating in 1988, is the only operating nuclear plant remaining in Scotland and is set to be decommissioned in 2028. 

Alister Jack at SAC hearing
Alister Jack believes the SNP will be out of office in 2026

Addressing the Westminster committee, Mr Jack said: “On the small nuclear reactors, I have asked the energy minister to plan for one in Scotland.

“I believe that in 2026 we’ll see a unionist regime again in Holyrood and they will move forward with that.”

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said Mr Jack’s comments were “undermining and patronising our democratically-elected government”.

He said: “His comments and the decision to ignore the Scottish Government on building new nuclear reactors in Scotland show exactly how this Westminster government sees Scotland and its people – a nation that should get in line and know its place.”

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