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  By a Newsnet reporter

Claims by Labour's energy spokesperson Tom Greatrex, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West – questioning the SNP's ongoing opposition to new nuclear power stations – have rebounded on Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont.

In a speech to the TUC conference in Brighton this week, Mr Greatrex is expected to claim that the Scottish Government is preparing to do a U-turn on nuclear energy, saying:   "... as with a significant number of their policies, it would appear that Alex Salmond and the SNP leadership are preparing the ground for a U-turn. The signs are there if you look closely."

He is expected to add:

"Do not be surprised if at some point in the next few years, the SNP s ideological opposition to nuclear power that was evident only a few years ago is swept under the carpet ... in the attempt to gain votes for its separatist agenda."

A Scottish Government spokesperson dismissed the claim, saying:

"We have a long-standing opposition to the building of any new nuclear power stations, so that will not happen in Scotland."

Mr Greatrex is a noted supporter of nuclear expansion.  In June this year, Mr Greatrex wrote in the Huffington Post that the country "would come to regret" turning its back on nuclear energy and called for the development of new nuclear capacity.  Mr Greatrex argued:  

"New nuclear makes sense from the perspective of climate change, security of supply and jobs and growth."   

SNP Westminster Energy spokesperson Mike Weir MP dismissed Mr Greatrex’s claims as "rubbish".  

Mr Weir went on to challenge Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont on new nuclear, saying that the SNP's opposition was "absolutely clear", but that Scottish Labour's position was unknown as Ms Lamont has failed to speak on the issue, leaving individual Labour MPs and MSPs to make statements which often contradict one another.

In 2007 Labour opposed the development of new nuclear power plants, saying that waste disposal problems remain unresolved.  More recently, in a Holyrood debate on 5 October 2011, Labour's Infrastructure and Capital Investment spokesperson Richard Baker claimed:

"Our party's position has not been to rule in new nuclear power for the future of Scotland’s energy production and consumption, but neither have we ruled it out."

SNP MP Mike Weir has now called on Johann Lamont, Labour's leader in Scotland, to end her silence on the issue and make her position and her party's known.  

Mr Weir said:

"Tom Greatrex’s attack is not only rubbish but it has rebounded on Scottish Labour whose position on new nuclear is unknown. Tom Greatrex has thrown down the gauntlet and it has landed on Johann Lamont’s desk – this is yet another issue on which the Labour leader needs to make her position known.

"Right now Scotland is capitalising on our vast clean, green energy potential, instead of following Labour and the Tories blind faith in costly, dangerous and unreliable nuclear power.  Labour must recognise that there is no appetite and absolutely no need for new nuclear power stations north of the Border – with their horrendous waste problems and soaring decommissioning costs.

"A majority of MSPs across a range of parties oppose new nuclear power, and Labour themselves are split from top to bottom in Scotland on the issue.

"The reality is that the UK Government is bogged down in nuclear planning issues and making no progress and creating no jobs, while the Scottish Government is getting on with the job of investing in the technologies of the future, and supporting thousands of energy jobs.

"Scotland is ahead of the game and ahead of our targets on renewables – which is good news for Scotland's economy. And we are making an international contribution to tackling global warming with our world-leading Climate Change Act – which is great news for the environment.

"With 25 per cent of Europe's wind energy potential, including massive off shore as well as onshore wind power capabilities, a quarter of Europe's tidal resource, and huge potential from clean coal and carbon capture, these are the real economic and employment opportunities for Scotland.

"The view of the Scottish Government and indeed Scotland's Parliament as a whole on nuclear is absolutely clear.  Scotland simply doesn't want or need dangerous and unnecessary new nuclear power stations, with soaring decommissioning costs and the unresolved problem of storage of radioactive waste that burdens future generations for thousands of years."

Comments  

 
# J Wil 2012-09-10 23:02
Greatrex: "... as with a significant number of their policies, it would appear that Alex Salmond and the SNP leadership are preparing the ground for a U-turn. The signs are there if you look closely."

Sheer fantasy.
 
 
# Adrian B 2012-09-11 01:33
"preparing the ground for a U-turn" - No!

The SNP will not build any more Nuclear power stations. However England is staring down the barrel of a serious shortfall in power generation. It has been importing hugh amounts of power from France and Holland. Scotland provides a great deal of power also, but figures are harder to find due to Scotland being within the UK.

Cameron has decided to move away from renewables. I would expect Hunterston B and Torness to be kept operational to aid base load power requirements south of the border. EDF has already given an extra 7 years approx life extension (subject to detailed review and approval).

See charts and notes - Power Stations - operating

en.wikipedia.org/.../...

That would see Hunterston B running until 2023 - thats probably pushing things!

Torness could run to 2030

Please note these figures are from EDF - Not the SNP!

How the Herald reported this news 14th August

heraldscotland.com/.../...

The real story is how short of coal, gas and electricity that England (generally known as UK) actually is.

Go and 'Google' things like 'UK power Imports', go and look at what is reported. By 2020 it is expected that Scotland will self sufficient in green energy - everything else gets sold to our closest neighbour, they need it!

£££££££££££££££ £

Oil income is not the real story that some people make it out to be! But I should add is it would be nice to have what is actually taken from our own waters.

Scotland is an energy rich country - do not forget that.

Don't stop the Unionists playing the man!
 
 
# mrnickhalloway 2012-09-11 10:27
Adrian

Figures from Scotland to England can be found at the following

nationalgrid.com/.../...

Which shows real time demand and the where the electricity is coming from.

Always shows Scotland to England never the other way about!
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2012-09-11 00:11
OT

Noticed this good piece of news in the Sun.

Finance Secretary John Swinney is set to end a two-year wage freeze for public sector workers:

thescottishsun.co.uk/.../...

“ Mr Swinney said he wants to allow for “modest” rises when he unveils his budget next week.

The move comes as unions in England threaten a general strike over pay. Mr Swinney also pledged to deliver a budget for jobs — with a shot in the arm for the construction industry.

He said: “I am exploring what more this Government can do to boost jobs and growth in the construction industry. “

Tagged on to the end was this remark from NuLabour in Scotlands Ken Macintosh:

“ The Scottish Government launched its legislative agenda last week which put their obsession with breaking up the UK above economic growth and recovery. “

What a complete NUMPTY.
 
 
# J Wil 2012-09-11 02:41
The sad thing is that all this negative stuff from the Unionists is not premised on their ignorance, it is the deliberate use of lies to fool the population.

Such parties do not deserve to operate in a democracy.
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2012-09-11 00:33
Lest we forget:

It was Tom Greatrex who, whilst working as Jim Murphy's aide, set-up Fiona Hyslop to get at the SNP, via a high-profile Royal security leak.

thesun.co.uk/.../...

At the time all Jim Murphy could say was… “I don’t know anything about that”.

Not many months after that Greatrex was sworn in as an MP… by ‘Swearing allegiance to the Crown’.

What a two-faced git.
 
 
# cardrossian 2012-09-11 07:17
When talking Green, and by that most of you mean windmills, when Englandshire builds its new nukes, we will have no market into which to sell our 'green' (i.e. over subsidised white elephant) electricity. All we will have to look forward to for the next few hundred years we will be the stumps of Salmond's follies (for there is not even any legislation to have them removed!)
 
 
# fynesider 2012-09-11 07:53
"SNP MP Mike Weir has now called on Johann Lamont, Labour's leader in Scotland, to end her silence on the issue and make her position and her party's known. "

I doubt if she will open her mouth on this, as on so much else. For a 'leader' she's not keen on coming forward!
 
 
# Breeks 2012-09-11 08:39
Not at all Cardrossian. Wind turbines work, and will continue working as long as the wind blows. Wave power works and will continue working as long as the tides flow. Hydro power works, and hydro power will continue producing power for as long as the rain falls.
'Green' means sustainable and renewable Cardrossian, and if a technology does become obsolete, then that probably means they've been replaced by something better, - but none of them will leave the toxic legacy of nuclear waste for millenia.
 
 
# Embradon 2012-09-11 08:49
Don't be taken in by the Nuclear Industry's propaganda. It is the most expensive and most heavily subsidised source of power available to us.
Worse, it is getting more expensive year by year as the cost of renewables fall.

The "stumps" of wind generators can be removed and recycled in a matter of a few weeks when their useful life is over. Compare this with nuclear sites which remain expensive problems for hundreds of years.
 
 
# Barontorc 2012-09-11 09:12
Hold on cardrossian, you reckon then that any excess power generated by Scotland will just go a-begging do you?

Can you tell me what it costs to produce more electricity than your base load need?

Is it better being power rich, supplying cheaper power for your emerging industrial development or not?

As for removing the hardware come the time to do so - what's the problem with nuts and bolts?

If you're hell-bent on nuclear - go and do your sums again and tell me its cheaper when you factor in the decom and clean-up and storage costs, not to mention the very real risk if it all went topsy.

I spent over five years bringing Hunterston 'B' to fruition - high-standard design and workmanship under strong QC policy with firm external monitoring then when finished with it all, looked on, as an interested by-passer, as operational limitations caused by defects started appearing.

Repair and maintenance capability is very severely prejudiced in such a hostile environment. Crossing fingers and hoping for the best with well rehearsed shut down procedures will not be good enough one day.
 
 
# bringiton 2012-09-11 10:20
England will not be the only market for our future energy supplies.
The north sea connectors will allow us to sell surplus energy to many other countries.
 
 
# alexmc8275 2012-09-11 09:30
I don't really know figures, or what is more subsidised out of the energy produced. I do think that nuclear is a no no. Why would we take a chance with it, think of all the times we know of its went horribly wrong, and all the times we don't know about, when half our country was nearly wiped out, and no one told us.
I know it had nothing to do with power stations, but look at dalgety bay, and all the other radioactive muck that has been dumped all over the place. When you think of it that way and what it could lead to, a few windmills on the horizon is a price worth paying . Surely beetween them, hydro, emerging tidal power , and perhaps some more grants etc for carbon capture and the likes we will be okay for power. My main concern is are we going to let private companies screw the public for as much as they can, the way it is just now. I don't want to have to choose between the ever rising cost of food , or the astranomical price of heating the house. This is why I'm voting for independence , I'm hoping that we won't have to choose. I'm hoping our government will do something to make prices fairer, cause lets face it nothing's going to get better under Westminster, they will just keep putting the screw on us till we have no more.
 
 
# Sannymac 2012-09-11 09:32
"cardrossian" I agree with Barontorc. It is patently obvious that you have absolutely no understanding of the cost and potentially drastic problems that must be associated with Nuclear Power.Like Barontorc I too worked as an Engineer in the nuclear industry - Dounreay 1960 and Winfrith from 1968 until 1972.The sum of my experience has taught me that this is and never can be a moderately safe industry. Indeed the potential for disaster is beyond belief.
Wind farms; I believe these to be a simple stopgap service. We need to develop the sea power, tidal and current, but this requires the removal of Westminster's claw from our funds and decision making process. Initially the process will be expensive but in the longer term it will provide a constant return without damage to the environment.
With an Independent Scotland we should meter all power sent to England and insist they paw a commercial price for their use. This will be a nice little earner for Scotland.
The energy potential of the north see tidal and currents is phenomenal and I believe one of the boffins calculated that fully used it could supply the total UK demand ten times over!!
 
 
# velofello 2012-09-11 09:57
cardrossian: I recommend that you, and like minded souls hold a conference to develop your nuclear power proposals. There will be much to discuss so take plenty of time.
Location of new nuclear stations? The West coast of Scotland facing the Atlantic and with the Arctic melting and so rising tides?
Further huge excavations in Caithness necessary to dump the waste?
Venue for your conference? Why not the shore at Dalgetty Bay? Beautiful spot. In your conference leisure time you can walk the shore with a metal detector, have barbeques,or build sand castles for the children attending the conference with their parents.

Being a bit pecuniary I look at these large windmills, i don't see them neither as beautiful nor an eyesore. Presently they are functional and as technology develops other means to generate electricity I see the latent scrap value of the materials of these windmills.
Reduction of energy demand is a must - more efficient heat consevation of homes etc.
A bit sarcastic but I do get frustrated when people seem to be able to ignore the nuclear disasters that occured in the USA, Russia, and recently Japan.
I'm a retired Chartered Engineer and in my time i came across some very cold people when it came to assessing risk to population.
 
 
# brusque 2012-09-11 11:58
I applaud your post Velofello; you have pretty much summarised the overwhelming reasons for no more nuclear.

It pains me to see that some people are still not aware of the inherent dangers of Nuclear Power, and not least the possibility of nature teaching us all another lesson as it did in Fukushima
Daiichi nuclear power facility in Japan, where workers deliberately covered up high radiation readings at the order of their superiors as recently as July of this year! bearing in mind that the Earthquake happened over 18 months ago.
 
 
# weegie38 2012-09-11 18:29
Greatrex is not that common a name, I'm sure most would agree.

Is he any relation of Neil Greatrex, the former leader of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers, who got 4 years in chokey for robbing a miners' charity of £150,000?

bbc.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# J Wil 2012-09-11 18:37
I wondered if there was a connection with France. Like Asterix the Gaul. Naked and the wearing of woad and all that.
 
 
# cynicalHighlander 2012-09-11 20:23
SAFE ENERGY E-JOURNAL No.56
August 2012: no2nuclearpower.org.uk/.../...
 
 
# Adrian B 2012-09-11 22:51
Economics of wind power

scottishrenewables.com/.../....

Scotland's Renewable Energy Sector in Numbers.

www.scottishrenewables.com/.../


UK Nuclear Decommissioning costs 2011-2012 (2Billion per year)

nda.gov.uk/.../...
 
 
# xyz 2012-09-12 09:20
Thanks for those links .. but one of them: Economics of wind power link is broken.
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2012-09-12 14:48
xyz

“ Thanks for those links .. but one of them: Economics of wind power link is broken. ”

I may be wrong… but I think the link should have been:

scottishrenewables.com/.../...
 
 
# Adrian B 2012-09-12 22:14
Thanks Roll_on_2011

My link is missing .pdf

Thank you for correcting my link and providing new working one.

Cheers, Adrian B
 
 
# rhymer 2012-09-12 08:46
I have the misfortune of having Greatrex represent my area as MP and to add insult to injury we have been inflicted with Kelly as MSP.
Doesn't labour know that two wrongs don't make a right ?
 
 
# .Scot 2012-09-13 23:34
The new favourite "Get-Out clause" of the energy hungry British? is Fracking for Shale gas to provide their energy security for the non-productive south East of England. A North sea oil & gas bonanza for England?

Curiously, shale gas deposits are in the North West of England. Precisely where they intend to build their new Nuclear reactors. Pollution of fresh drinking water and destruction of the Lake district aside, Fracking causes earthquakes and we are all too well aware of the disasters that the Japanese have recently had with those two entities.

telegraph.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# 1scot 2012-09-14 15:34
Greatrex didn't sound very Scottish the last time I heard him. Anyone know his background, other than Labour trough swiller.
Cardrossian, your very funny.
 

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