Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:48 pm on 21st February 2007.

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Photo of Richard Lochhead Richard Lochhead Scottish National Party 3:48 pm, 21st February 2007

The key problem is that the UK Government has postponed a decision on the matter. We must decide now and get behind what is a massive opportunity for Scotland's energy future. That is the key, but the UK Government, and Gordon Brown in particular, have decided to postpone the decision and BP has put the project on hold. That is bad news for Scotland. We must get the go-ahead if we are to reduce Scotland's emissions and tackle global warming. Doosan Babcock Energy Ltd in Renfrew wants to develop world-leading clean coal technology in Scotland but, yet again, the Government in London is delaying decisions on support for the technology.

The key point is that global warming is a threat here and now. It is a real and present danger facing Scotland. The energy sector is Scotland's biggest contributor to the harmful emissions that cause global warming. We must clean up our energy industry in Scotland, but nuclear energy is not the answer. We must scotch the myths. Nuclear energy is not reliable. As we speak, Hunterston B is closed down and it is not producing energy but, of course, the lights have not gone out in Scotland, which shows that we do not need nuclear energy at present.

Nuclear energy is not carbon free: drilling for uranium causes lots of carbon emissions. Nuclear energy is certainly not a clean industry: for the past few decades, nuclear waste has been produced by the nuclear sector in Scotland. There is no safe solution to nuclear waste in Scotland. The minister should face that reality and dump any commitment to producing even more nuclear waste in Scotland. We should be supplying our communities from renewable energy sources, not sending nuclear waste convoys through their high streets.

We do not have time to wait for nuclear energy. If we supported its construction, the first nuclear power station would not be up and running until 2017-18 or even later.

I conclude my speech in this short debate on nuclear energy and its relation to our energy needs and our environment by saying that we have to take the right decisions now. Future generations will depend on this Parliament having taken the right decisions now. We can have a win-win situation in Scotland. We can make the most of clean energy technologies and of our renewables potential. That could create thousands of new jobs and could meet our energy needs for centuries to come. It would also make a disproportionate contribution towards tackling global warming and towards the global effort to tackle climate change. I commend the SNP's motion to the chamber.

I move,

That the Parliament welcomes the recent ruling by the High Court in London that declared the UK Government's decision to back new nuclear power stations illegal due to a failure to consult adequately; recognises that the judgement is a further blow to the UK Government's pro-nuclear policy, and rejects the case for new nuclear power stations in Scotland in favour of developing our nation's enormous renewables and clean energy potential which is the quickest, most effective, safest and less expensive energy option for tackling climate change.