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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 March, 2005, 17:03 GMT
Nuclear power 'is off the agenda'
Scottish Parliament chamber
Scottish ministers have power over planning consent
Labour's coalition partners have warned that they would aim to block any attempt to build a new nuclear power station in Scotland.

The Scottish Executive would have to grant planning consent for any such development north of the border.

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said he could not foresee any circumstances in which his colleagues at Holyrood would support such a move.

The Greens and Scottish National Party also oppose a new nuclear option.

They were speaking following the publication of a report by Westminster's Scottish Affairs Committee.

'Sound analysis'

MPs called for an audit of the country's energy resources and suggested a renewed role for nuclear power and coal.

Mr Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat member of the committee, said the report provided "sound analysis" without suggesting any particular solutions.

He said the possibility of a new nuclear plant in Scotland had not been excluded, although no recommendation had been made.

If Labour in Westminster does try to force a new nuclear power station on Scotland they will be faced with massive opposition
Mike Weir
Scottish National Party MP

However, he pointed out that the Scottish Executive would have to approve any planning application.

"As things stand I cannot foresee the circumstances in which my colleagues in the Scottish Parliament would be prepared to support that decision," he said.

"For Scotland, therefore, nuclear energy is off the agenda for the foreseeable future."

That warning was echoed by the SNP's Mike Weir, who also sits on the committee.

"If Labour in Westminster does try to force a new nuclear power station on Scotland they will be faced with massive opposition," he said.

Extending production is not an option, neither is a new station
Shiona Baird
Green MSP

"There are huge issues such as waste and security to be considered."

And he argued that green energy provided an alternative.

The Scottish Green Party agreed that efforts should be focused on developing renewable energy, rather than the "dead end" of nuclear power.

MSP Shiona Baird said: "Those political dinosaurs who recommend a new nuclear power station seem happy to deny the huge threat this poses to health and the environment in Scotland.

"Extending production is not an option, neither is a new station."

There is no medium-term viable alternative to nuclear if Scotland is to meet its climate change obligations
Stephen Boyd
STUC

Labour MP and former Energy Minister Brian Wilson said a decision had to be taken "sooner rather than later" on the need or otherwise for nuclear new build.

"I think the more we move this debate into the context of global warming and carbon reduction then the less sense it makes to get rid of the one source of electricity in this country which produces large volumes of carbon-free electricity," he said.

The report received an enthusiastic welcome from Stephen Boyd, assistant secretary of the STUC.

He said Scotland needed a "balanced energy strategy" based on a diversity of fuel sources, with the renewable element increasing as technologies like tidal and wave power proved themselves.

"There must also be a continuing role for coal generation subject to introduction of clean coal technologies and recognition that there is no medium-term viable alternative to nuclear if Scotland is to meet its climate change obligations," he said.


SEE ALSO:
Ministers consider nuclear option
29 Sep 04 |  Scotland
Scots urged to 'energise' debate
21 May 04 |  Scotland
Dounreay run-down brought forward
02 Apr 04 |  Scotland
Opposition to nuclear waste plan
03 Mar 04 |  Cumbria


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