Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Unions left frustrated after motion to back nuclear in Scotland fails to gain traction

© Supplied by James WilliamsonUnions nuclear
Hunterston B nuclear power station in Ayrshire. James Williamson.

A pair of trade unions have been left exasperated after a planned debate around the future of nuclear energy in Scotland faltered.

Prospect and the GMB had intended to submit a motion at the Scottish Trades Union Congress conference, which is being held in Aberdeen, committing to nuclear power as part of a just transition.

But they opted to withdraw it after fellow unions indicated they planned to oppose the motion or to abstain.

And there are concerns about the message this sends to the scores of people working in the nuclear industry north of the border.

In a statement, Prospect and the GMB said: “We had hoped today to debate and discuss how we build upon the STUC’s balanced energy policy including nuclear power, in particular new nuclear technologies such as small modular reactors, to deliver both de-carbonisation and Just Transition for Scotland.

“We understand that amongst our broad movement there are different views. It is hugely disappointing however when Unions embedded in the nuclear industry feel unable to support their own members in that industry, especially those working to design and build these new technologies. As a result Prospect and GMB have withdrawn our motion (Motion 15 at today’s STUC Conference) and we will be engaging with our nuclear industry colleagues on how we address this damaging issue.”

A divisive subject

Despite being a low carbon, reliable source of energy, nuclear power remains a controversial topic in Scotland, as well as overseas.

Holyrood recently pledged to block any attempts to bring new nuclear developments to Scotland, despite a commitment in the UK energy strategy to deliver up to eight fresh reactors.

Michael Matheson, Scotland’s energy secretary, described it as the “most expensive form of electricity”, adding that there are environmental and safety concerns.

matheson windfall tax © PA
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Michael Matheson.

As reported in the Press and Journal earlier this month, he said: “We oppose nuclear for three reasons. The environmental impact lasts for generations and the taxpayers today have to pay for it.

Mr Matheson added: “There are safety concerns because when problems happen they are significant.

“And thirdly, it is the most expensive form of electricity that we choose to produce.”

New nuclear could ‘kick-start’ a just transition

One of Scotland’s two nuclear power stations recently shut up shop after more than four decades.

The loss of Hunterston B means Torness Power Station, near Dunbar, is now the only operating reactor north of the border.

brian wilson © Shutterstock / Graham Stuart
A view of Torness nuclear power station

It comes at a time when energy security and enabling a just transition are at the forefront of government agendas.

The GMB says new nuclear would “kick-start a failing jobs transition”, adding that workers are being “let down” by a lack of green job creation.

Drew Duffy, Scotland senior organiser for the union, said: “Neither Scotland or the UK can meet its net zero targets without new nuclear capacity. Nuclear is a viable, clean, and constant source of low-carbon electricity generation, supporting thousands of direct and indirect jobs. It’s role in our future energy mix should not be in doubt.

“That’s why the withdrawal of the motion only serves to fuel the worrying complacency surrounding energy and industrial policy in Scotland, and energy sector workers, many of them trade unionists, will be looking on with real concern.

“The facts are that Scotland is losing tens of thousands of offshore wind manufacturing jobs to the rest of the world, there’s constant ambiguity over the domestic oil and gas industry that we’ll still need, and nuclear workers are being told they have no future in Scotland.”

Recommended for you

More from Energy Voice

Latest Posts