A row has broken out between the UK and Scottish governments over nuclear power.
Ed Miliband, secretary for the department of energy and climate change (DECC), slammed the Scottish government’s opposition to new nuclear power stations.
Miliband said he believed the Scottish government’s stance on nuclear power, such as the decision not to renew the Hunterson B site, was wrong.
Miliband told Radio Scotland: “I think that’s a shame for Scotland in industrial terms and I don’t think it’s the right decision for the United Kingdom in energy terms, but it does remain a decision for Scotland. “
Alex Salmond said that Ed Miliband was effectively launching a verbal “nuclear strike” on Scotland, and argued that to build new nuclear power stations would redirect much needed investment away from research into renewable technologies and carbon capture.
The Scottish first minister has gone on record before stating his abhorrence to nuclear power. The SNP leader has said that the Scottish government should invest its time and money closer to home rather than importing technology from abroad.
The first minister cited marine power and offshore wind farms as areas where Scotland had a natural advantage, and said he would rather draw from Scottish resources. Salmond also argued that the jobs created by nuclear power were decades away, whereas potential jobs in the renewables industry were in the pipeline now.
Last year a report by the Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI) warned that five times the level of investment in wind farms was the only way Scotland could meet it target of generating 50% electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Iain Duff, SCDI chief economist, said the report showed Scotland could only hit target with "unprecedented" levels of financial support.
The row comes in a week which saw DECC unveil eleven potential sites for nuclear power stations across England and Wales. Scotland’s two power-generating nuclear power stations are due to close. Hunterson B is scheduled for decommissioning in 2016, Torness expected in 2023.
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