CAMPAIGNERS have accused a Scottish council of a lack of transparency in its presentation of a proposal for a prototype nuclear fusion reactor.

Ayrshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said council taxpayers in North Ayrshire were furious at what they called the “one-sided presentation” of the case for the development at Ardeer.

They said there had been a “lack of transparency” and were surprised at the lack of an accessible way to ask questions and express their concerns over the proposal – Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (Step).

Proponents of fusion – which differs from the nuclear fission at nuclear power plants in which atoms are split – see it as a potential source of safe, virtually limitless energy which also omits no carbon.

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However, the campaign group said many locals in Ayrshire had no idea about the proposal on their doorstep until they heard mention of opposition to it.

They said the council set up a one-click process for people to state their support but made no provision for those who had concerns to state them.

“After years of worry about cracks in the nuclear reactors at Hunterston, it is very disappointing that North Ayrshire Council are supporting the development of another nuclear facility at Ardeer,” said Arthur West from Ayrshire CND.

“The respected Nuclear Free Local Authorities organisation which includes Scottish councils such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and East Ayrshire are opposed to nuclear fusion, labelling it a distraction from the need to continue developing renewable energy sources.”

However, a council spokesperson said the local authority was one of three partner organisations, alongside the University of Glasgow and NPL Group who were seeking to bring Step to Ardeer, and were seeking support for the proposal.

“We believe that Ardeer offers a unique location, can support our commitment to tackle the climate emergency by providing low carbon energy, create thousands of high-quality jobs and act as an economic catalyst for this part of Scotland,” they said.

“A set of frequently-asked questions has been prepared to provide facts and information on the proposal and is available for all to see at

“The consultation is being undertaken by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) who are currently considering five locations from across the UK.

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“It is the UKAEA who will consider all the responses received and they have already heard a wide range of views during their recent visit to North Ayrshire as part of their deliberations.”

They added: “We are absolutely committed to ensuring everyone’s voice is heard and there will be further chances for people to understand and have their say on proposals well in advance of any plans being finalised.

“The UKAEA will consult informally and formally throughout the process and we would encourage everyone – whether they support or oppose the proposals – to get involved.

“The UKAEA also has an online feedback form which allows people to express their views and this is available at This is also available in paper format at Ardeer Community Centre and Stevenston Library.”