Sunday, January 15, 2006

Is Scotland's First Minister considering more nuclear power?

The prospect of the world's oil supplies running out is clearly having an impact on our politicians, as they begin to question the moratorium in building new nuclear power stations.

Tony Blair has dropped hints about this over the last year or so and today, the Sunday Herald reports that Jack McConnell, the First Minister of the Scottish Executive, is considering allowing more nuclear power stations to be built in Scotland:

First Minister Jack McConnell is paving the way for a Scottish Labour U-turn which would remove its opposition to new nuclear power stations being built in Scotland. McConnell has launched an internal party consultation on whether Scotland can afford to turn its back on the controversial energy source.

His colleagues are being asked to decide whether a commitment to another generation of nuclear reactors should become official party policy.

The move follows widespread speculation that Prime Minister Tony Blair will back new nuclear power stations as a solution to energy shortages and as a way of helping the government to fulfil its pledge to reduce carbon emissions.

But the energy issue is sensitive for McConnell, who along with his coalition partners at Holyrood, the Liberal Democrats, has ruled out any new nuclear power stations while the problem of radioactive waste remains unresolved.

The consultation is part of Labour’s “policy forum” process that will lay the foundations for the party’s 2007 Holyrood election manifesto.
According to today's paper edition of the Sunday Herald, between 1990 and 2002, nuclear power accounted for 35% of Scotland's electricity, gas accounted for 20%, renewables 11% and coal 33% (there appears to be 1% unaccounted for).

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