Labour must rule out new nuclear reactor for Scotland

Nuclear power has no place in a greener Scotland.

A future UK Labour government must drop plans by the Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack, to open a new nuclear reactor in Scotland, say the Scottish Greens.

Speaking to the House of Lords Constitution Committee this week, Mr Jack said that the UK government is planning to work with anti-independence parties to deliver a new nuclear reactor in Scotland. 

Mr Jack told the committee “On the small nuclear reactors, I have asked the energy minister to plan for one in Scotland, because I believe in 2026 we’ll see a Unionist regime again in Holyrood, and they will move forward on that matter.”

In a letter to Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Greens energy spokesperson, Mark Ruskell, condemned the “environmental vandalism and constitutional overreach” of the Tories, and called on Mr Sarwar to ensure any future UK Labour government would drop these plans.

He has also urged Mr Sarwar to make clear if his party would support a replacement for the Torness nuclear station which is set to be decommissioned in 2028.

Mr Ruskell said: “Scotland does not need or want nuclear power. It is unsafe, expensive and leaves a toxic legacy for future generations. It is also a big distraction. Scotland has a huge abundance of renewable resources that we must be investing in and supporting.

“I have written to Mr Sarwar in the hope that he will provide clarity and assurance that a future UK Labour government would drop plans to expand nuclear power in Scotland against the wishes of our parliament.

“This is a time for progressive parties to stand together for our climate, and I hope that Mr Sarwar will oppose any plans for a new reactor or for a return to nuclear power once Torness has been decommissioned.”


Text of the letter Mark Ruskell sent Anas Sarwar

Dear Anas Sarwar

As you will be aware, the Conservative Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack, has asked the Energy Minister to draw-up plans for a nuclear reactor for Scotland. 

This comes despite the strong opposition of the Scottish Government and our parliament, and sends an extremely disrespectful message. 

The fact that Mr Jack has not even sought to raise this plan with the Scottish Government or MSPs should concern all of us who care about devolution.

A new reactor would not only be unsafe, it would be very costly and would leave a toxic legacy. It would also distract from the vital work we need to do to boost clean, green and renewable energy.

We could be only months away from a Labour government taking office in Westminster. As leader of Scottish Labour, this raises important questions that I, and many others, would like you to clarify.

  1. Would a future Labour government in Westminster continue with a plan to open a new nuclear reactor in Scotland?
  2. Will Scottish Labour support a new nuclear reactor or a replacement for the Torness nuclear site after it has been decommissioned in 2028?

It was a Scottish Labour First Minister, Jack McConnell, who rightly stood up to Tony Blair’s UK government in 2005 and challenged the expansion of nuclear energy in Scotland due to safety concerns. 

I hope that your party will not move away from this position and will not accept this kind of environmental vandalism and constitutional overreach from Westminster.

The phasing out of nuclear energy has been a huge achievement of devolution, and one we must continue. I look forward to hearing from you, and hope that we can work together to ensure a fairer, greener Scotland based without nuclear power.

Many thanks


Mark Ruskell MSP

Scottish Greens

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