Minister insults professionalism of Torness staff with false safety criticism
The Nuclear Industry Association’s Chief Executive has written to Scotland’s Energy Secretary, Neil Gray MSP, highlighting the ‘factually inaccurate’ assertions he recently made about nuclear power and its contribution to the power mix in Scotland.
In the letter, Tom Greatrex, responds to claims made by Mr Gray in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament that nuclear power is ‘not safe’, is ‘expensive’, and ‘not wanted’ or ‘needed’ in Scotland.
Some of the main points made in the letter include:
- Torness nuclear power station in East Lothian operates to the highest standards of safety in all circumstances, independently verified by the regulator. It has the cleanest lifecycle generation, the highest reliability as measured by load factor, and the highest output of any station in Scotland.
- Scotland has had the cleanest power mix of the four nations of the United Kingdom because it has a mix of nuclear and renewables.
- Scotland has consistently generated the most nuclear power of any part of the UK, thus avoiding more carbon dioxide emissions than any other power source in Scottish history.
- The Secretary’s reference to the nuclear phase out in Germany is in ignorance of the fact that they burn more coal than anybody else in Europe.
- Three quarters of the global economy supports the role of nuclear power, with 24 nations including Canada, Sweden, Finland, France and the Netherlands – pledging to triple nuclear power capacity at COP 28 to help meet the challenges of climate change and energy security.
- The countries with the cleanest power have nuclear and renewables working together, not set in false opposition to each other.
The letter also repeats the invitation, which was recently declined by the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, to meet with representatives of the civil nuclear industry in Scotland to discuss the Scottish Government’s concerns and facts and science of nuclear power.
Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said,
“It is shocking to see the Scottish Energy Minister spread falsehoods about nuclear power in Scotland. He has devalued the enormous contribution nuclear has made to the nation’s net zero goals, energy security and jobs and has insulted the professionalism of Scottish nuclear workers with false criticism about safety.
“Scotland has consistently generated the most nuclear power of any part of the UK, thus avoiding more carbon dioxide emissions than any other power source in Scottish history. Torness nuclear plant is the best power generating asset in Scotland, with the cleanest lifecycle generation, the highest reliability as measured by load factor, and the highest output of any station in the nation.
“Its nuclear sites have an exemplary safety record and the highest safety standards of any electricity source with a world-class workforce which keeps the country’s lights on day in day out.
“It is disappointing that when 78% of the world’s economy backs nuclear, Scotland is turning its back on science and disrespecting an industry, and workforce that has helped give the country the cleanest power anywhere in the UK.
“Nuclear should be at the heart of Scotland’s clean energy future. Ruling out new nuclear is bad science and bad judgement for Scotland.”
Notes to editors
- The letter can be accessed here: https://www.niauk.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/Letter-to-Cabinet-Secretary-for-Energy-Neil-Gray-MSP-on-Nuclear-Energy.pdf
- Neil Gray MSP’s comments on nuclear in the Scottish Parliament on December 5 can be accessed here: https://www.parliament.scot/chamber-and-committees/official-report/search-what-was-said-in-parliament/meeting-of-parliament-05-12-2023?meeting=15589&iob=133010
- According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Carbon Neutrality in the UNECE Region: Integrated Life-cycle Assessment of Electricity Sources, nuclear power has the lowest lifecycle carbon footprint, lowest lifecycle land use, and lowest lifecycle impact on ecosystems of any electricity generating source.
- According to the International Energy Agency, nuclear uses fewer critical minerals than other clean energy sources.
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