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Last Updated: Friday, 7 September 2007, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
Salmond rejects UK nuclear policy
Alex Salmond

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has fired a shot across the UK Government's bows while outlining Scotland's green credentials.

Mr Salmond announced that Scotland now had the ability to produce more green energy than nuclear power.

Opening an extension at a Borders wind farm, he criticised the UK Government's plans for new nuclear power stations.

The Scotland Office said nuclear provided a steady and reliable source of low-carbon power.

Scottish Labour also hit back at the first minister, accusing him of "bluster".

First Minister Alex Salmond marked "Green Energy Day" during a visit to Crystal Rig wind farm, near Dunbar.

We can have secure energy supplies without landing future generations of Scots with the burden of toxic radioactive waste
Alex Salmond
First Minister

The Scottish Government acknowledges that, on average, wind farms do not actually produce more power than nuclear.

According to the energy supply industry, in an average year, about 40% of the electricity used up comes from the two nuclear power stations - Hunterston B in Ayrshire and Torness in East Lothian - and 20% from renewables.

Proportions can also vary - for example from July 2006 for 10 months, Hunterston B was closed for repairs.

However, when running well, nuclear stations produce about 80% of their total capacity, with wind farms generating about 30%.

The first minister's criticism of the Westminster government came the day before it was due to host a meeting in Glasgow on its proposals for new nuclear power stations.

Most existing nuclear power stations are due to close by 2023 and the UK Government has said its "preliminary view" is that new stations should be built - to reduce carbon emissions and Britain's reliance on foreign oil and gas imports.

Applications pending

Mr Salmond said: "Scotland has an abundance of clean renewable energy resources - wind, wave, offshore wind, tidal, biomass and bio-fuel.

"They will take their place along with initiatives in clean coal technology, in promoting micro-generation and energy conservation.

"In stark contrast, the UK Government has already made up its mind to go for a new generation of nuclear power stations - only after carrying out a consultation it was forced into by the high court.

Scotland cannot be powered by Alex Salmond's bluster alone
Iain Gray
Labour energy spokesman

"Scotland neither wants nor needs new nuclear power stations and I hope the people who attend the event in Glasgow will take the opportunity to make that view absolutely clear."

Mr Salmond added: "As Green Energy Day demonstrates, we can have secure energy supplies without landing future generations of Scots with the burden of toxic radioactive waste."

However, Scottish Labour energy spokesman Iain Gray said answers to his parliamentary questions have revealed that applications for onshore wind power projects with a generating capacity of 4,787 Megawatts (MW) were waiting to be processed by SNP ministers.

He further claimed that the Scottish Government's only wind farm decision in four months had been to reject a major development.

"Of 2,500 MW of renewable generating capacity the SNP are responsible for precisely none, and it could have been more if they had not opposed wind farm developments all over Scotland," said Mr Gray.

"Scotland cannot be powered by Alex Salmond's bluster alone. It is time for him to get real on renewables."

A Scotland office spokesman added that nuclear power was a very significant element in the debate on climate change and energy supply.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Alex Salmond opens the Borders wind farm extension



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