Alba Party candidate for Lothian East George Kerevan has called on Labour to come clean about its plans for building new nuclear reactors at Torness.

Kerevan, a former SNP MP for East Lothian now standing for Alba, says:

Labour’s manifesto clearly states that ‘Scottish Labour believes Scotland should not miss out on the economic opportunity that nuclear energy offers’. But Torness is due to close in 2028. Labour can only be hinting that it will promote building a new generation of nuclear reactors on the Torness site.  These plans should be publicised now rather than after the election.”

Kerevan, who previously lectured in energy economics at Napier University, added:

“My Labour opponent Douglas Alexander has been honest at local hustings in saying he supports a future for nuclear energy. And Martin Whitfield, the local MSP, recently argued in Holyrood that the SNP-led Scottish Government should reconsider its opposition to a Torness B. This can only point to a renewed attempt by an incoming Labour administration at Westminster to site a new nuclear facility at Torness, especially given the planned upgrade to transmission lines to England.”

In full, Labour’s Scottish manifesto states:

“Labour will end a decade of dithering that has seen the Conservatives duck decisions on nuclear power, while the SNP opposes its development in Scotland completely. Nuclear power currently provides up to 23 per cent of the electricity consumed in Scotland and will need to remain part of our energy mix if we are to achieve energy security and clean power in Scotland.”

It goes on:

“A UK Labour government will ensure the long-term security of the sector UK-wide, extending the lifetime of existing plants. New nuclear power stations in England and Small Modular Reactors will play an important role in helping the UK achieve clean power while securing thousands of good, skilled jobs. Scottish Labour believes Scotland should not miss out on the economic opportunity that nuclear energy offers.”

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) have a power capacity of up to 300 MW(e) per unit, which is about one-third of the generating capacity of traditional nuclear plants.  Prefabricated SMRs can be manufactured and then installed on site, making them less expensive to build than large reactors, which are often custom designed for a particular location.

But Kerevan argues:

“Promising SMRs to extend the operating life of Torness is dangerously misleading. Firstly, SMRs remain an unproven technology. Second, there are fresh security concerns from putting multiples of such units in a single location.  Above all, the volume of new battery storage and onshore solar generation plants now proposed for East Lothian is already excessive.  Expanding Torness will only add to road congestion and loss of local amenity.”

Kerevan added:

“East Lothian gets precious little benefit from the export of Scotland’s renewable energy down south. Now Labour making us a dumping ground for more nuclear power.  This is economic illiteracy as well as being high risk as new nuclear power currently costs twice as much to produce as deep offshore wind which Scotland has in super abundance.

Only independence will allow Scotland to manage its own resources for its own people.”

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