ONE of Scotland’s leading environmental campaigners has warned that Labour’s GB Energy plans risk wasting resources on nuclear power.

In an article for The Scotsman, Dr Richard Dixon – the former director of WWF Scotland and Friends of the Earth Scotland – warned that GB Energy was “spreading its ambitions too wide” by seeking to invest in nuclear power as well as renewables.

During the General Election campaign Keir Starmer proposed setting up a state-owned energy company called Great British Energy, which is due to be headquartered in Scotland.

He promised that the company would “make Britain a clean energy superpower” and “cut bills for good”.

GB Energy will not actually produce any energy but instead jointly invest in projects alongside the private sector.

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The Labour Party also stated that there will be £8.3 billion of public funding coming from GB Energy over the course of the next parliament.

Currently, Scotland has just one nuclear power station which is set to be decommissioned by 2028 and the Scottish Government does not support the building of any new nuclear power stations.

During an interview with BBC Radio Scotland on Tuesday, Scottish Secretary Ian Murray refused to rule out overruling the Scottish Government to build new nuclear projects in the country.

“GB Energy will have a whole suite of offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, tidal, new fledging technologies, hydrogen, nuclear,” he said “All of those things are in the mix.

“We have Sizewell and Hinkley Point already being built in England.

The construction of Hinkley Point C has suffered major delays and spiralling costsThe construction of Hinkley Point C has suffered major delays and spiralling costs

“It's really important that they are because that gives us the baseload of what we require as a country in terms of our energy needs.”

But Dixon warned that against GB Energy devoting resources to a nuclear due to the vast cost such projects.

“Great British Energy is spreading its ambitions too wide,” he said. “That £8.3bn might sound like a lot of money but it’s less than a fifth of the cost of one new nuclear power station.

“That money might go a long way if it was just helping to accelerate the deployment of wind, wave, tidal and solar renewable energy technologies.

“But also trying to back new nuclear reactors, CCS, and hydrogen production will spread the jam very thinly indeed.”

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He added that GB Energy would be far more effective if renewable energy was the focus instead of nuclear and carbon capture projects.

“Labour’s obsession with nuclear power comes from the unions, but nuclear is the last thing you should invest in if you want to reduce people’s bills and cut climate emissions,” he said.

“It is too expensive and takes much too long to start generating.

“We’ll all be paying higher electricity bills for the next 35 years because of the deal the UK Government did to get the Hinkley reactors built.

Richard Dixon warned GB Energy against investment in nuclearRichard Dixon warned GB Energy against investment in nuclear

“Renewable energy and energy-efficiency are much better investments to quickly deliver on bills and climate.”

The Hinkley Point C reactor was due to cost £18bn and begin operations in 2025 when first agreed in 2016. 

However, costs have since spiralled to £46bn and the opening delayed to as late as 2031. 

The last time a nuclear power station opened in the UK was Sizewell B in 1995.