Civil Nuclear Road Map

Published date : 11 January, 2024
I thank the Minister for advance sight of his statement. He is absolutely right in one respect: the Scottish Government do not support the development of new nuclear power in Scotland. The reasons for that are simple: beside the environmental concerns, the economics do not lie. Nuclear power is slow to deliver and horrendously expensive, and the policy of recent years under Labour and Conservative Governments has been simply to allow private companies to privatise the profits while the risks are socialised for taxpayers. We on this side of the House—at least, on the SNP Benches—all know that Scotland’s comparative advantages lie in hydrogen and renewables, both areas in which the Scottish Government’s ambitions appear to considerably outstrip those of the current UK Government.

May I ask the Minister two simple questions? First, despite his disagreement with the Scottish Government’s stance on planning and nuclear, will he and his Government respect the devolution settlement as it stands? Secondly, will he give an undertaking, as none of his predecessors over the last half century or more have been able to do, that when the multibillion-pound decommissioning liabilities become live for any new generation of nuclear power stations, they will lie squarely on the private companies that have benefited in the preceding decades and will not fall on the taxpayer?

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