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Response to Scotland's Energy Future

In light of increasing demand for policies that adequately address climate change concerns by reducing carbon emissions and producing energy in a sustainable manner, last month, the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) released a report titled 'Scotland's Energy Future'. Scottish CND respond below:

The RSE Inquiry set out to explore all the options for Scotland's energy future. Scottish CND notes that the report's apparently neutral or rather positive stance on nuclear power requires come careful presentational work and the take up of the nuclear industry's view without the voices of their opponents. The carbon emissions involved in mining and transporting nuclear fuel, building the plant, the decommissioning and long-term containment of nuclear waste are acknowledged but no attempt is made to compare these to equivalent costs in other types of power stations. Rather, when comparisons are made, the focus is on 'zero emissions at the point of generation'. The fact that Scotland sends some nuclear waste to England and has not developed a long-term solution to nuclear waste, is identified as a serious problem but without comment on the obvious difficulty of continuing to create further nuclear waste.

The nuclear industry's case for continuing nuclear power includes quoting the industry's figures for the number of jobs directly and indirectly supported without considering the alternative view of the increased jobs required for decommissioning and potential to be world-leading experts in that field. The nuclear energy industry's positive assessment of the importance of nuclear in Scotland's future is quoted but not the view of the environmental movement and anti-nuclear campaigners. 

The items that are not mentioned under their assessment of 'social acceptability' of nuclear power include the negative history of secrecy and concealed accidents, links with nuclear weapons and ongoing uncertainty about the effects of the industry's contribution to low level radiation through emissions to the environment such as when fuel rods are replaced and associated question marks over leukaemia clusters around nuclear installations. 

Also not mentioned in the report is the unexpectedly high number of cracks in the graphite core of Hunterston B's nuclear reactor 4 and the continued closure of both reactors since March and October 2018 for safety assessment with no apparently negative consequences for energy supply. 

Scottish CND believe they should be closed permanently because even if the increased risk of accidents posed by the cracks are very small, the potential consequence of any accident are certainly not since the prevailing wind will bring any plume of emissions over Glasgow and Edinburgh


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