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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 March 2006, 17:14 GMT
Scotland 'should get nuclear say'
Hunterston B power station
The future of Scotland's nuclear capacity is up for debate
Holyrood should have the final say on approving any new or upgraded nuclear power projects, according to a poll carried out for BBC Scotland.

At present, energy policy is reserved to Westminster but the Scottish Executive has powers over planning.

But the poll found 82% of people wanted the Scottish Executive to decide on nuclear power, compared to 13% who wanted it to be a UK Government choice.

The ICM survey of 1007 adults forms part of BBC Scotland's Energy Week.

It also found that 56% of people trusted the Scottish Executive to tell them the truth about the safety of nuclear power, while only 31% trusted Westminster.

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Labour MP Anne Moffat said the decision had to be made in conjunction between the UK parliament and Scottish parliamentarians.

Ms Moffat told BBC Radio's Scotland at 10 programme: "The real issue for me is security of supply and I don't think there is anyone in Scotland or the wider UK that wants to be in the position of switching the light on and nothing happening."

She added: "People don't want to pay an absolute fortune for their energy and nuclear has got to play a part in that, it already provides 50% of the electricity in Scotland."

However, Scottish National Party energy spokesman Richard Lochhead insisted that Scotland was the most energy rich country in Europe.

On economic grounds the situation doesn't stack up
Jeremy Purvis
Liberal Democrat MSP

He said: "At the current time we export nearly 20% of electricity outwith Scotland because we produce so much and yet we operate under capacity.

"There's no need for nuclear in Scotland, we have a vast wealth of resources."

Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone argued that Scotland was already reliant on nuclear power.

Mr Johnstone said: "At the end of their lifetimes our existing nuclear power stations should be replaced with newer, safer, nuclear power stations which produce significantly less waste than the ones we rely on at the moment."

Liberal Democrat MSP Jeremy Purvis rejected the case for nuclear.

He said: "On economic grounds the situation doesn't stack up - in America the Bush administration wants to have new nuclear but it's offering massive tax subsidies to attract private companies to do that.

"And on the waste grounds there are still substantial questions and until they are answered it is right to say that we would not support new nuclear power stations."


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