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Chamber and committees

Motion ref. S6M-02738

Hunterston B Nuclear Power Station Ends Electricity Generation After 46 Years

Submitted by: Paul Sweeney, Glasgow, Scottish Labour.
Date lodged: Friday, January 14, 2022

Supported by: Mark Griffin, Martin Whitfield

That the Parliament notes the retirement of Hunterston B nuclear power station on 7 January 2022, which is understood to have been the most productive clean energy asset in Scottish history, producing a reported 297 terawatt hours (TWh) of low-carbon electricity; further understands that Hunterston B produced enough low-carbon electricity to power every home in Scotland for 31 years, and has saved 224 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions; notes reports that all but one of the UK’s existing nuclear reactor plants will retire by 2028, removing 7.6 gigawatts (GW) of clean, always-on electricity from the grid; welcomes what it sees as the positive steps that Scotland has taken towards decarbonisation, particularly that 100% of Scotland’s gross electricity demand in 2020 was provided by renewables; notes that this figure only represents gross demand and understands that Scotland itself did not use all of this electricity; understands that 30% of Scotland’s electricity consumption came from nuclear power in 2020, the most of any UK nation; further understands that the Climate Change Committee has stated that clean electricity capacity must quadruple by 2050 and that two-fifths of this should be from "firm" power sources; believes that nuclear energy is the only commercially-viable source of firm, low-carbon power; understands that the Climate Change Committee anticipates that 10 GW of total nuclear capacity will be required in 2035, and up to 32 GW in 2050; notes the Scottish Government’s stated opposition to the building of new nuclear power stations in Scotland, and considers that this goes against the reported independent scientific and technical consensus from bodies, including the Climate Change Committee, International Energy Agency, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the United Nations, which it understands states that nuclear power is both a low-carbon solution and one that provides the lowest-cost energy system overall; expresses its concern that, in the short term, the gap in capacity from Hunterston B’s closure will, it understands, have to be filled, in part, by imported gas that is sourced from potentially extremely volatile global markets; considers that what it sees as the Scottish Government’s anti-civil nuclear position will mean that, as with the wind industry, jobs and economic benefit associated with the nuclear power that Scotland needs in order to achieve net zero, will be exported, and notes the calls for the Scottish Government to revise its position on the build of new nuclear power stations, especially given what it sees as the opportunity presented by the latest technological advancements, such as Small Modular Reactors and proposals for fourth generation fail-safe and zero-waste reactor designs, to enable Scotland to have a secure, low-carbon electricity future.