THE convener of Scotland’s nuclear-free local authorities (NFLAs) has written to Net Zero Minister Michael Matheson asking him to reject nuclear power at Scotland’s two new green freeports.

Councillor Paul Leinster said they should instead build a hub for renewable technologies to produce power for the nation.

The Scottish NFLAs have also called on the minister to make sure that Scotland’s nuclear communities do not lose out by ensuring the workers and businesses located there can access the new opportunities that arise in the freeports once operations at nuclear power stations end.

In the letter, the NFLA has been joined as a co-signatory by the campaign group, Highlands Against Nuclear Power (HANP).

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Scotland NFLA convener Leinster was quick to attack the notion of nuclear energy in a green freeport.

He said: “The NFLA and HANP cannot see how any genuinely green freeport with an aspiration to create green jobs and forge a green energy future for Scotland can incorporate the manufacturing of small modular nuclear reactors. This is not a green technology.

“It is simply a nuclear fission reactor made smaller, but it is still reliant on uranium dug from the ground, which is processed, transported many miles, enriched and manufactured into fuel rods; it still contaminates the environment around the site on which the plant sits; and it still generates radioactive waste that must be managed for generations at great expense.”

Leinster (below) added: “Nuclear is a faux-green technology and locating nuclear manufacturing facilities in a green freeport or using nuclear power to support its operations would represent ‘greenwashing’.”

The National: Paul Leinster.

HANP chair Tor Justad talked of the potential for the freeports to create skilled employment and supply-chain opportunities for workers and businesses in nuclear communities who lose out when power plants close.

He said: “The NFLA and HANP recognise that when all nuclear operations end in Scotland, workers and local businesses will require new opportunities to source an income. There has been a lot of talk of a ‘just transition’ for oil industry workers as we move away from fossil fuels, but we want to see a ‘just transition’ for nuclear communities too. We believe the freeports can provide skilled and high-paid alternate employment.”