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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 16:47 GMT
Nuclear challenge for Labour MSPs
Hunterston B power station
Labour MSPs are being urged to back the renewal of nuclear stations
Labour MSPs are being challenged to back a motion on nuclear power similar to the position endorsed by Labour members at their party conference.

Labour's coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats states no nuclear stations will be built before the issue of waste is dealt with.

But Labour members recently backed the replacement of nuclear power stations as part of a balanced energy policy.

Now Conservatives have lodged a similar motion at the Scottish Parliament.

Conservative energy spokesman Alex Johnstone said: "I was delighted to see the Labour Party conference in Aviemore sharing our position on nuclear power by accepting that a balanced approach to energy policy is required.

"I have, therefore, returned the compliment by tabling the same motion for Thursday's debate, trusting that Labour will not seek to amend our motion in any way and therefore support us in the chamber."

Our position on nuclear energy has not changed and that is that we will not support the building of new nuclear power stations until the issue of waste has been resolved
Scottish Executive spokeswoman

However, it is thought unlikely that the Conservative motion will be passed without any amendments.

Elaine Murray, the Labour MSP for the Dumfries constituency where Chapelcross nuclear power station is being decommissioned and a supporter of continuing atomic energy generation, said the motion was "flawed".

The motion urges the Scottish Executive to "support the adoption of a balanced energy policy" including new and replacement nuclear builds.

But Ms Murray pointed out that the devolved administration was only responsible for planning issues surrounding any proposed nuclear station.

Ms Murray added: "I'm not sure about the Tories, but I'm also in favour of ambitious renewable energy targets and efforts to promote greater energy efficiency.

"At the moment I think there's also a requirement for nuclear, I think it will have a role to play over the next half-century because we need to keep the wheels of industry turning until these renewable technologies have the capacity to meet demand."

An executive spokeswoman said: "Our position on nuclear energy has not changed and that is that we will not support the building of new nuclear power stations until the issue of waste has been resolved."


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