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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 May 2006, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Nuclear stance call for parties
Dounreay
A committee said nuclear waste should be buried deep underground
Scotland's political parties have been urged to make public their position on nuclear power before the 2007 election.

Green MSP Shiona Baird raised a motion in the Scottish Parliament which called on parties opposed to new nuclear power stations to outline their views.

First Minister Jack McConnell has said the Scottish Executive would only consider building a new nuclear station if the waste issue was resolved.

However, Mr McConnell's concerns about waste were branded "a smokescreen".

A recent interim study by the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) recommended that deep underground disposal was the best option for nuclear waste.

If it is so safe perhaps the UK Government could dig a hole in the middle of London and store its nuclear waste there
Richard Lochhead
SNP MSP

Ms Baird said: "There are a majority of parties in this chamber and, I believe, MSPs who are against new nuclear power.

"Sadly, although outspoken on nuclear power, the Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen has refused to say whether nuclear power would be a non-negotiable issue for the Lib Dems going into any future coalition."

Deputy Environment Minister Rhona Brankin said it would not be appropriate for her to comment on specifics until she received CoRWM's final recommendations in July.

Richard Lochhead, the SNP's newly-elected Moray MSP, said his party supported a nuclear-free Scotland.

He said several sites in Scotland had already been identified as potential locations for nuclear waste dumps.

He added: "If it is so safe perhaps the UK Government could dig a hole in the middle of London and store its nuclear waste there, but we know that's not going to happen."

'No deal-breaker'

Conservative energy spokesman Alex Johnstone said a balanced energy policy should include nuclear power.

"If we are not able to provide affordable energy to the poorest in our society, then fuel poverty itself will be greatly increased," he said.

He added that new stations would produce "cleaner, safer and more efficient electricity" than those they would replace.

Labour MSP Elaine Murray described the agreement between Labour and the Lib Dems - that new stations would not be considered before the waste issue was resolved - as papering over differences between the two parties.

However, she said: "I don't think it is a deal-breaker at the moment."

Liberal Democrat MSP Nora Radcliffe said her party wanted to limit as far as possible the production of any more nuclear waste.

"We believe that nuclear power generation is uneconomic, unsafe, unneeded and unwanted," she said.


SEE ALSO:
Concerns over nuclear waste plans
27 Apr 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Dounreay makes discharge request
27 Mar 06 |  Scotland
Work starts on nuclear 'clean up'
03 Feb 06 |  Scotland


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