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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2006, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Parties focus on nuclear problems
Hunterston B nuclear power station in Ayrshire
Politicians opposed to nuclear have focused on the problems
Anti-nuclear politicians have seized on problems at Hunterston B nuclear power station to underline their arguments against building any new ones.

British Energy found cracks in one of the two reactors at the Ayrshire plant, with 92 out of 500 boiler tubes experiencing defects.

Scottish Green and SNP MSPs said it was dangerous to rely on nuclear power.

The Scottish Executive said it would only consider building a new plant if the waste issue was resolved.

Scottish Greens said the problems emphasised an over-reliance on nuclear power while the SNP said First Minister Jack McConnell's energy policy was cracking along with the pipes at Hunterston.

Waste management

The first minister has been accused of being evasive on the issue of new nuclear plants.

Mr McConnell, who is in the US and unavailable for comment, recently said he suspects Scotland has the capacity to meet its energy needs through a massive increase in the use of renewable sources.

An executive spokesman said: "We will not support the further development of new nuclear power stations in Scotland while waste management issues remain unresolved."

There have also been problems at Hinkley Point, another nuclear plant run by British Energy in Somerset, with ongoing inspections of three reactors at the site.

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