Hunterston plans under fire from Bute councillor

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Plans to extend the life of the Hunterston B nuclear power station for as much as 20 more years have been criticised by a Bute councillor.

Independent Len Scoullar wants Argyll and Bute Council to object “in the strongest possible terms” to any proposal by the Scottish Government to extend the life of the Hunterston facility, which lies just six miles from the south end of Bute.

Cllr Scoullar’s first step will be to present a motion on the subject to the authority’s Bute and Cowal area committee, which meets in Dunoon on Tuesday, October 2.

The motion was drawn up after an expert report published by the ten-strong group of Nuclear Free Scottish Councils (NFSC) said ministers were wrong to allow the nuclear facilities at Torness and Hunterston to continue running for two more decades.

The report’s author, Pete Roche, an expert policy adviser to the NFSC, warns that “milking Scottish reactors dry is another way of maximising the chances of an accident as these reactors get older and more decrepit”.

Councillor Scoullar - whose motion can be read in full by clicking on the link to the right of this article (scroll down to item 9 on the agenda) - told The Buteman: “I have been in touch with members of the various councils concerned seeking their advice on the contents of the report.

“I am extremely concerned that our government is giving consideration to extending the life of these ageing nuclear power stations.

“I believe we should be following the example of the German government, which withdrew from service all its ageing nuclear reactors in the wake of the disaster at Fukushima. I very much hope the Scottish Government sees reason and does the same.

“The German government is encouraging economy measures with regard to electricity use to make up for the shortfall in generation, but our government is predicting a ten per cent increase in consumption.”

Energy minister Fergus Ewing said in response: “The Scottish Government has always made clear that its view on operating life extension applications at Torness and Hunterston is entirely subject to the relevant safety cases being made. We are opposed to new nuclear build.

“This has been made clear on numerous occasions. We value the high degree of professionalism displayed by the workforces at Hunterston and Torness. I hope that these factors, as well as the interests of the employees to continue in employment for a further seven years will be taken into account by Argyll and Bute councillors.

“I recommend that they visit Hunterston and Torness, as I have done, and speak to the people who run and manage the plants there.”