Salmond's preference for coal and renewables could lead to energy shortfall, warns Holyrood committee

New nuclear power stations could be built in Scotland in spite of Alex Salmond's opposition to the controversial energy source, according to reports.

The first minister plans to keep Scotland free of new nuclear plants, preferring coal-powered stations and renewable energy.

But a Holyrood report due to be published today will call for nuclear power to be kept on the agenda, according to Scottish newspapers.

The Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee is expected to say the nuclear option should not be ruled out over fears that renewable power generation will not grow fast enough. The government has set a target of cutting emissions by 80% before 2050.

Critics of Salmond's policy say Scotland could suffer an energy shortfall in the next two decades without new nuclear power, as two of its existing reactors - Hunterston B in Ayrshire and Torness in East Lothian - are closed.