No new nuclear
Oppose any kind of new nuclear reactor development in Scotland and instead support energy efficiency and renewables.
Issues related to the resources used for, and emissions generated by, the construction and operation, as well as the uncertainties and risks of waste disposal and decommissioning, mean that nuclear energy is not a ‘low carbon’ or sustainable solution to the climate crisis. Given the wealth of renewable resources available to Scotland, seeking to address energy issues with nuclear power would be both expensive and an unnecessary distraction from a transition to a genuinely clean energy system.
Germany recently completed its nuclear phase out, switching off its last three nuclear power stations. Increased energy efficiency and the rapid growth of renewable energy more than offsets the energy which was generated by these plants. France’s ageing and ailing fleet of reactors are proving unreliable with more than 40% of them out of action in 2022. Two new reactors are still being built in France 11 years after they were supposed to be finished, while French energy company EdF is having to be fully nationalised, mainly because of its nuclear debts.129
The UK Government continues to support new nuclear power but the Hinkley Point C reactors are now expected to start operating ten years later than planned, with a price tag nearly double the original £18bn, and with electricity bill payers paying at least £30bn over the next 35 years. The UK’s decades-long search for a store for the most radioactive waste continues without a result. The UK Government should abandon its plans for new reactors, and begin to phase out existing reactors, as has happened in Germany.130
The industry talks of newer, smaller designs but these will not produce cheaper electricity even if produced in large numbers, will not be available until well into the 2030s and will produce more radioactive waste for each unit of electricity generated than current designs.
The Scottish Government is implacably opposed to new reactors of traditional designs but must also firmly rule out any form of nuclear reactors in Scotland.
For further information:
- Net Zero without nuclear – the case against nuclear power, Jonathon Porritt, 2021, https://www. jonathonporritt.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Net-Zero-Without-Nuclear-updated.docx.pdf
France starts process to fully nationalise power group EDF, Reuters, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/france-keeps-edfbuyout- offer-12-euros-per-share-filing-2022-10-04/
Over and out: Germany switches off its last nuclear plants, AP, April 2023, https://apnews.com/article/germany-nuclear-power-plantsshut- energy-376dfaa223f88fedff138b9a63a6f0da