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I should like to begin by echoing the remarks of Dr Whitehead about the Minister’s participation in the Bill so far. He has indeed been helpful, inclusive and relentlessly courteous as we have gone through the process. I welcome the progress that has been made, but that must be set against the background of what we believe to be the folly of leaving Euratom in the first instance. The last time the Bill came before us, I said that despite the Government’s ideological intention to abandon Euratom—it is ideological; there has been no attempt to challenge whether there might be a possibility to stay in it—their proposals fell short of answering vital questions on the UK’s nuclear future. Those answers have been asked for by the nuclear industry, the medical profession, our research sector and virtually everyone associated with nuclear power. Simply put, we should not be leaving Euratom.
Even with some sensible amendments from the Lords that have been accepted by the Commons, the Bill still fails to answer many critical concerns. As I have stated before, we in the Scottish National party believe that the safest nuclear power is no nuclear power. In Scotland, we have demonstrated what can be achieved by alternative renewable energy sources, and there is still a vast potential to be tapped, especially offshore, for an abundance of low-cost clean energy. In contrast, the UK Government continue to chase the folly of new nuclear, including the white elephant that is Hinckley C. That means higher costs for consumers, and technologies whose capital costs continue to skyrocket.