SNP Nuclear-Free Plan under Attack; We Can't Rely on Energy Imports, Says Study
Byline: Andrew Picken Scottish Political Reporter
ALEX SALMOND'S vision of a nuclear-free Scotland was under pressure last night after fresh warnings of blackouts unless more power stations are built.
Britain will need to double its nuclear output by 2030 to avoid becoming dependent on imported energy supplies, a UK Government report has warned.
But the First Minister refuses to consider building more nuclear power stations even though a new generation of nuclear reactors would see Scotland claim a share of billions of pounds of investment.
Gordon Brown's energy tsar Malcolm Wicks has called for Britain's share of electricity generated from nuclear power to be boosted from 13 per cent to as much as 40 per cent.
Scotland's nuclear power stations at Hunterston, Ayrshire, and Torness, East Lothian, are set to close in 2016 and 2023.
However, the SNP has made clear it will block new nuclear plants north of the Border, despite warnings that an overreliance on foreign energy will increase the risk of the lights going out for Scottish families and businesses.
Instead of using nuclear energy, the Scottish Executive plans to rely on renewable and 'clean' fossil fuel power stations to generate electricity.
But Mr Salmond's own Council of Economic Advisers has warned that such renewable power generation would not grow quickly enough to meet the SNP's target of 80 per cent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Mr Wicks' report predicts that by 2030 the UK could be importing as much as 70 per cent of its energy unless ageing nuclear power stations are replaced and renewable power options are explored.
The MP said: 'We must be far smarter with the energy we use and invest in home-grown energy sources, such as new nuclear and renewable power, without delay.'
Mr Wicks' energy report also questions if projections that the North Sea will supply 55 per cent of the UK's gas needs in 2020 are too optimistic. …