The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Scotland Forum is backing a call from East Lothian MP Kenny MacAskill for UK government support when Torness nuclear power plant closes, and also supports similar provision at Hunterston.
Hunterston B power station closed for the final time last month and is now in a defueling phase before the long process of decommissioning begins. EDF Energy, the operator of Torness, has recently announced that the plant will now close in 2028, two years ahead of schedule because of pronounced cracking in the graphite core that is a key safety feature in the two Advanced Gas Cooled reactors.
Commenting, Councillor Feargal Dalton, who is the Convenor of the NFLA Scotland Forum, said:
‘The NFLA is totally opposed to the continuance of civil nuclear power in Scotland as we are convinced that our nation’s energy needs can be met through renewables. However, we also recognise that in communities, such as Hunterston and Torness, where a nuclear plant closes there will be an impact upon the local economy but this can be fully mitigated through decommissioning work and the skilled workforce transferring to the expanding renewables sector.
‘Nuclear businesses such as the outgoing operator EDF Energy and the incoming Nuclear Decommissioning Agency receive a great deal of direct or indirect public funding.
‘We want to see a part of that funding directed to ensure that there are the right resources in place to retain and retrain as many local employees as want them in new jobs in defueling and decommissioning, and, for those employees who wish to leave, access to specialist job search support to secure alternate well-paid employment elsewhere.
‘We also want to see clear procurement policies in place to favour the retention of local businesses as contractors so keeping earnings in the local economy.’
The NFLA has made this position clear as part of the organisation’s response to the consultation just carried out by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the agency charged with making safe and clearing closed civil nuclear plants, on its future Business Plan.
Councillor Dalton added:
‘As nuclear sites are cleaned and made safe we also want also to see the land used instead for the installation of renewable technologies which will generate truly green energy, without the threat of nuclear accidents or the terrible legacy of nuclear waste. Not only will this take us nearer to our ‘zero carbon’ goal for Scotland, but it will also provide more job opportunities for local people.’
For more information please contact: Richard Outram, Secretary, NFLA email Richard.email@example.com / mobile 07583 097793