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Nuclear Power

Volume 558: debated on Wednesday 13 February 2013

1. What recent assessment he has made of the contribution of the nuclear power industry to the Scottish economy. (142160)

There is currently just over 2 GW of installed and operational nuclear capacity in Scotland, split between Torness and Hunterston B. In 2011, 33% of electricity generated in Scotland came from these two nuclear power stations.

Is the Secretary of State aware that Wylfa and Anglesey are about to benefit from a massive investment in a new nuclear power station? Does he share my disappointment in the attitude shown by the Scottish Government, who reject any new nuclear investment?

Clearly, there is a significant contribution to our current energy mix from nuclear. My hon. Friend will be aware that planning on these matters is devolved to Scotland. It is a matter, rightly, for the Scottish Parliament to determine. For my part, I am delighted that we are seeing an increase in the proportion of renewables in our energy mix as part of a sustainable, affordable energy supply in the UK.

EDF Group’s nuclear power stations, including Torness in my constituency, produced their highest output for seven years in 2012. Does the Secretary of State agree that there is a continuing long-term role for nuclear in keeping the lights on in Scotland?

I do not think that anybody can ignore the significant contribution that nuclear makes. Like the hon. Lady, I have many constituents who are employed at Torness. Nuclear power stations play an important role in our local economies, but I want to see a sustainable mix across the energy supplies and generation sector, and with renewables and others in the mix, that is a good thing too.

Why are this Government determined to throw money at an industry that has never been economically viable, while refusing to set a decarbonisation target to boost the renewables industry, which is already creating thousands of new jobs in Scotland?

Through energy market reform, we are underpinning the renewables sector for a very long time to come. What I do not understand is how the Scottish National party can propose independence, when Scottish Renewables would end up losing the biggest source of consumers who underpin the economics of that very important sector.