COULD I take this opportunity to correct glaring inaccuracies in the statement issued by North Ayrshire Council (NAC) regarding the proposed siting of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) nuclear fusion reactor on Ardeer?

1) The claim that this plant will help to fight climate change is blatantly untrue. This plant is not due to start electrical production till at least 2040 if then, with delays. It is well known that if we want to stop runaway temperature rise, we need to act now. 2040 is too late.

2) This is not a clean energy source. The structure of the reactor will be radioactive as well as all plant and machinery in it.

3) This is not a Zero-Carbon energy solution. There is a huge amount of carbon embedded in the reactor and associated buildings, way beyond the amount that would be in any conventional structure.

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I would also point out that:

1) This is technology is nowhere near being shown to work. The total power input to any existing nuclear fusion plant far outstrips the thermal power output. The UKAEA have conveniently ignored the huge amount of energy put into containing the plasma (in ITERs case about 500Mwatt). The best nuclear fusion plant to date only produced about1-2% of the total input of power, a LOSS of 99%.

2) The fuel needed to start this plant running and keep it running will need to come from present day nuclear power plants which will need to be kept running way past their design life with all the inherent safety concerns. Witness the problems with the now shut down Hunterston Nuclear power plant. The technology to produce Tritium (the radioactive fuel that powers a fusion reaction) within the fusion reactor has yet to be shown to work on a commercial scale. Fission reactors only produce around 1 kg per plant per year. The input to this plant will need to be around 15kgs every year.

3) Electricity consumption in the UK fell nearly 20% between 2005 and 2020, mainly due to energy conservation measures. Scotland is at present producing 97% of its gross electricity needs from renewables. Why do we need this? For the cost of this plant, we could retro-fit energy saving measures to over 500,000 homes in Britain, cutting our overall electricity consumption dramatically and increasing the quality of people’s lives. Insulating homes would make the proposed plant surplus to requirements.

4) This is not cheap electricity. Electricity prices will be higher as a result of building this plant. Whitlees Wind farm was built for around £1.5 billion and ACTUALLY produces over 500 Mwatts of power. The proposed plant will cost at least £2 billion and only produce 100Mwatts Whitlees also provided 4000 jobs during construction and supports 600 jobs in operations and maintenance, more than is projected from this plant People who have reservations about this proposal have very little time to raise them with North Ayrshire Council. UKAEA will be making their recommendation to the Secretary of State for Energy in Westminster in early Spring. If you have any concerns please visit the petition at I hope that this vanity project is dropped before it goes to the Secretary of State and NAC comes up with a more sustainable proposal for the Ardeer Peninsula.

Richard Leat


OIL giant BP has reported its highest profit for eight years, amounting to £9.5bn for 2021, the highest for eight years. This comes days after Shell reported profits of over £14 billion for last year, both companies cashing in on rocketing oil and gas markets.

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Gas prices have increased five-fold from prior to the pandemic and oil prices have almost doubled as economies open up. This is leading to big increases in gas and electricity bills for households, which will face a record energy bill increase of 54 per cent from April after the regulator lifted the cap on default tariffs to £1,971. The choice for many, pushed into fuel poverty, will now be between heating and eating.

Facing crippling increases in the cost of living, it is interesting to note what other countries are doing to tackle this energy crisis. France, for example, is capping bill increases at 4 %; Norway is paying half of its citizen’s energy bills with profits from its lucrative oil fund, and Germany is looking to cap increases at 5%.

The pockets of the oil companies are deep, having profited from higher wholesale prices, and a one-off windfall tax here in the UK on fossil fuel giants helping hard-pressed households cope with record energy bills is urgently required.

Alex Orr