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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2008, 13:53 GMT
Ministers hail nuclear decision
Torness Nuclear Power Station
Scottish ministers have opposed new nuclear power stations

The Scottish Government said it was delighted there were no plans in the pipeline to build new nuclear power stations north of the border.

On Thursday, minister John Hutton announced that the UK Government was inviting companies to submit plans to build and operate new facilities.

Although sites have yet to be identified, Scotland is not expected to feature on a final list.

Holyrood ministers said they wanted "clean, green" energy and not nuclear.

Scotland's Finance Secretary John Swinney believed the strength of feeling in Scotland against "unwanted and unnecessary new nuclear power stations" had been felt by Mr Hutton.

He added: "The UK Energy Bill provisions on nuclear power do not extend to Scotland - this is a great success for the Scottish Government."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said that the UK needs a more independent power supply, but critics, including the SNP, have argued that a new generation of new stations would be expensive, dirty and dangerous.

The risks and uncertainties of new nuclear power... are obviously far too great
John Swinney
Finance Secretary

The UK's existing nuclear power stations produce about 20% of the UK's electricity, but most are due to close by 2023.

In the Energy Bill it also signalled that there should be greater deployment of renewable energy and increased investment in carbon capture and storage as well as offshore gas infrastructure.

Mr Hutton said: "The government believes it is in the public interest that new nuclear power stations should have a role to play in this country's future energy mix alongside other low-carbon sources; that it would be in the public interest to allow energy companies the option of investing in new nuclear power stations; and that the government should take active steps to open up the way to the construction of new nuclear power stations."

But, re-stating the Scottish Government's opposition to new nuclear power stations, Mr Swinney insisted that 92% of the energy used north of the border came from non-nuclear sources.

Carbon storage

He said: "New statistics show that Scotland in 2006 supplied 92.5% of its energy needs from fossil fuels, renewables and pumped hydro storage.

"The risks and uncertainties of new nuclear power, in terms of waste disposal, decommissioning, security and health concerns or cost, are obviously far too great.

"The bill is actually a further, strong argument for the full devolution of responsibility for energy, so that we can take the right decisions for the people of Scotland.

"For example, it proposes both the UK and Scottish Governments having competence on offshore carbon storage and renewable electricity, which is unnecessarily complicated."



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