Green MSP Raises Hunterston Cracks With First Minister
A Green MSP challenged the First Minister to take action on safety and job concerns after the discovery of over 350 cracks in reactor cores at Hunterston nuclear power plant forced their closure.
In his question on the 22nd November, Ross Greer, MSP for the West of Scotland, called on Nicola Sturgeon to back a full environmental impact assessment before the reactors are brought back online. He advocated an approach that compares the potential impact of extending the life of an old reactor with supplying energy from alternative sources such as renewable energy, and involves the public in the decision-making process. This is required under the Espoo Convention, (the UN convention on environmental impact assessment in a transboundary context), to which the UK is a signatory but has not yet been committed to.
Mr Greer also called on the First Minister to back a "full and substantial transition plan for the community around Hunterston" before its inevitable closure. Nicola Sturgeon acknowledged safety concerns but failed to give concrete assurances on either point.
Scottish Green MSPs published a report in January 2017 urging the Scottish Government to review safety conditions at the site following earlier reports of cracks and the repeated granting of lifetime extensions to the power station, which was originally expected to close in 2006. Earlier this year, Ross called for the community living near the Hunterston B nuclear power station to be given a say in any decision to extend the plant’s lifetime.
Ross Greer MSP said:
“Hunterston is now well beyond what should have been its operational lifespan. This isn’t the first shutdown caused by serious safety concerns but it should be the last. I challenged the First Minister to support an Environmental Impact Assessment before the plant is brought back online, one which compares the potential impact of extending the life of an old reactor with supplying energy from alternative sources such as renewable energy, and involves the public in the decision-making process. The UK is, after all, a signatory to the Espoo Convention which requires such an EIA.
“Safety at the plant is not the only area where residents must be consulted though. I also challenged the Scottish Government to ensure that a substantial and urgent transition plan is developed, to ensure that another community is not left behind by the inevitable and imminent closure of a degrading power station to which much local employment is tied. While her responses to both requests were far from clear commitments, there should be more than enough common ground for us to ensure the safety and prosperity of the community in both the short and long term.”