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Last Updated: Monday, 21 May 2007, 07:58 GMT 08:58 UK
MSPs 'against' new nuclear power
Hunterston is one of two remaining nuclear power plants in Scotland
Hunterston is one of two remaining nuclear power plants in Scotland
The issue of nuclear power could create a political clash between MPs and MSPs this week.

Most of the Scottish Parliament is opposed to nuclear power, according to a survey by environmental pressure group Friends of the Earth Scotland.

However, the UK government is expected to promote new nuclear stations in a white paper at Westminster.

The survey found 72 of the 99 new MSPs who responded opposed building new nuclear power stations in Scotland.

It found 24 supported new nuclear and three were undecided.

Thirty MSPs did not respond.

'White elephant'

First Minister Alex Salmond has insisted there is no prospect of new nuclear stations in Scotland.

He told the BBC's Politics Show: "As far as Scotland is concerned, I think we'll be saying: 'Nuclear power - no thanks'.

"There's absolutely no chance of us allowing a new generation of nuclear power in Scotland.

"There is just no consensus in Scottish society or in the Scottish Parliament to have foisted on us another generation of nuclear power stations."

Trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling told the same programme: "I certainly started off as a sceptic, as far as nuclear was concerned.

"But I think that if we don't keep that open as an option, then we're not going to be able to reach our targets to reduce the amount of carbon going in to the atmosphere, and we have run a grave risk of not having our electricity when we need it."

Chapelcross (pic by Neil Burns)
Towers at Chapelcross were demolished over the weekend

Friends of the Earth Scotland's chief executive Duncan McLaren said the demolition of the cooling towers at the Chapelcross plant at the weekend should mark the end for nuclear power in Scotland.

He said: "The closure and clean-up of Chapelcross should intensify our drive for increased energy efficiency and clean renewables, not a return to polluting and expensive nuclear.

"The results of our survey couldn't be clearer - new nuclear power stations are not welcome in Scotland. Like the public, the majority of MSPs realise that nuclear power is nothing other than a white elephant.

"Any attempt to foist new nuclear power on Scotland would be an expensive, ineffective and risky distraction from sensible measures to address climate change."

Energy gap

Chapelcross nuclear plant in Dumfries and Galloway is being decommissioned after operating for almost half a century.

More than a third of the electricity generated in Scotland comes from its two remaining nuclear power stations.

Torness in East Lothian is expected to stay open until 2023.

Hunterston B in Ayrshire is due to close in 2011 but could be kept open for a further decade to plug the energy gap.

It has just been switched back on after a 10-month shutdown because of defects in its boilers.

One of the two reactors was powered up on Sunday and the other is due to return to service soon.

To compile its survey, FoE Scotland wrote to MSPs on three occasions over the past year.

It first asked MSPs for their views last year on the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

Before the election, FOE asked for the views of all candidates and after the Holyrood poll it sought the views of any MSPs who had not responded.

The first minister is opposed to new nuclear power stations

Britain 'will need nuclear power'
20 May 07 |  UK Politics
Nuclear cooling towers demolished
20 May 07 |  South of Scotland
Review says 'no need for nuclear'
10 Jul 06 |  Scotland
Labour 'rules out' nuclear veto
03 Jul 06 |  Scotland


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