ANY plans to power Scotland’s last remaining oil refinery with a nuclear reactor will be blocked by ministers, the Government has confirmed.

The Times reports that Ineos, the firm which partly owns the Grangemouth refinery, is in talks with engineering firm Rolls-Royce to power the site with a nuclear reactor – despite longstanding and stubborn opposition to the technology from the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government has now reaffirmed its opposition to any plans to build the reactors in the country, because they use nuclear fission.

A spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government is absolutely clear in our opposition to the building of new traditional nuclear fission energy plants in Scotland under current technologies.

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“Small modular reactors [SMR], while innovative in construction and size, still generate electricity using nuclear fission and therefore the process presents the same environmental concerns as traditional nuclear power plants.

“We believe that significant growth in renewables, storage, hydrogen and carbon capture provides the best pathway to net zero by 2045 and will deliver the decarbonisation we need to see across industry, heat and transport.”

The Scottish Government has a longstanding policy of using planning policy as a workaround to ban nuclear sites in Scotland.

It does this because energy policy is a reserved matter but ministers are able to frustrate efforts by using planning restrictions which block nuclear projects.

Rolls-Royce confirmed it was in talks with a “number of industrial customers” about using its SMRs for energy generation – but did not mention Grangemouth specifically.

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A spokesperson for the firm said: “Rolls-Royce SMR is talking to a number of industrial customers who see huge potential in using our UK developed technology to provide affordable, long-term, low carbon electricity, generated from a sustainable source.

“We do not comment publicly on any commercial discussions.

“In addition to generating low-carbon electricity for the grid, its small footprint and factory-built approach means the Rolls-Royce SMR can be deployed to power, energy intensive industrial processes, including the production of hydrogen and synthetic fuels.”

Ineos declined to comment.