THE Kakhovka dam destruction – and the “immense” nuclear threat seen in Ukraine – could undermine the case for small modular reactors as a green energy solution, the SNP Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) convenor has warned.

On Tuesday, Ukraine accused Russian forces of blowing up the Kakhovka dam and hydroelectric power station, which Moscow has controlled for more than a year.

There are concerns that the damage to the dam could have broad consequences including depleted water levels upstream that help cool Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – Europe’s largest.

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Bill Ramsay told The National: “The destruction of the Kakhovka dam, and the fact that Oleksiy Danilov, President Zelensky’s top security official, said that the world needs to pay attention to the Russian Federation’s deliberate weaponization of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, is effectively what I predicted in my paper published by Scottish CND in April this year.”

The paper – entitled Castle Zaporizhzhia – argued that the threat posed by Zaporizhzhia shows how the potential proliferation of small modular reactors could have important national security implications in the future. 

It comes as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed plans in March to set up Great British Nuclear, a new body to oversee the revival of atomic energy and smooth the development of a new pipeline of power stations in the UK.

This included launching an international competition to find the leading designs for small modular reactors, which are smaller than conventional nuclear reactors and can be operated at a separate site.

The SNP didn’t share Hunt’s enthusiasm for nuclear power at the time.

Energy Secretary Michael Matheson said: “The Scottish Government does not support the building of new nuclear fission power stations in Scotland under current technologies.

"New nuclear power is expensive and will take years, if not decades, to become operational and has significant environmental concerns."

Ramsay said that small modular reactors could also constitute a "longer-term danger".

He said: “Reporting on the implications of the presence of a nuclear power plant in a dangerous war zone has been somewhat muted so far. But the threat is immense.

“From time to time, particularly as the war drags on, some stories around the Russian occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant have popped up, but then have disappeared again.

“In my view, this lack of focus on Zaporizhzhia has been deliberate, because it throws up a potentially much longer-term danger, the implications of the proliferation of Small Modular Reactors as a so-called solution to global warming.

“However, the statement by President Zelensky’s security chief makes it increasingly difficult to avoid speaking about the nuclear dimension not only in the current conflict but, potentially, of future conflicts caused by climate change.”