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Ministers warned drive to Net Zero will fail without nuclear energy

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Ministers must urgently recognise the value of nuclear power or risk stalling Scotland’s drive to Net Zero, according to GMB Scotland.

The union, representing members across oil, gas, nuclear and renewables, has called on the Scottish Government to review its opposition to nuclear after a damning report warned official targets to cut emissions are unrealistic.

The UK Climate Change Committee highlighted a series of failed targets, warned a fall in emissions projected by 2030 is no long achievable and said current plans will continue to fall short.

GMB Scotland has questioned the Scottish Government’s failure to build industrial strategies to underpin renewables and believes the opportunities offered by new nuclear power facilities must now be seized.

Claire Greer, the union’s organiser in energy, has written to Mairi McAllan, cabinet secretary for Net Zero and energy, calling for the Scottish Government to end its "ideological" opposition and follow other countries across the globe harnessing nuclear power to cut emissions.

She wrote: “Reducing emissions is a long-term mission that requires a robust and realistic plan.

“So far the Scottish Government has blocked the expansion of new nuclear energy despite its many benefits, including the delivery of stable, secure and independent energy.”

The union said new nuclear would deliver cleaner energy for Scots while helping create and protect skilled, well-paid jobs currently being off-shored along with contracts for renewable infrastructure.

Greer said the potential to expand and extend existing nuclear facilities at Hunterston and Torness should be urgently examined.

She said: “The Scottish Government has also stated that nuclear energy takes a long time to build. However, so too do wind farms.

“The pursuit of net zero is a long process that will span decades and generations. We must make the plans and investments now to meet tomorrow’s targets.

“Hunterston and Torness both currently present an opportunity for expansion so that low carbon energy and jobs can continue in Scotland. Whilst the Scottish Government continues to block any new nuclear, these opportunities will be missed as will emission targets.”