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New nuclear push puts renewable ambition at risk warns WWF

22 May 2012

Scotland's renewable energy future must not be knocked off track by the UK Government's draft Energy Bill, warned WWF Scotland today.

The environmental organisation expressed concern that plans announced today [1] to reform the UK electricity market were 'rigged' in favour of nuclear power threatening to undermine greater use of renewables and energy efficiency.

The announcement follows news that EDF is seeking to further extend the life of its nuclear power stations, including Hunterston B in Ayrshire. [2]

Commenting on plans to extend the life of Hunterston B nuclear power station, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland said:

"The nuclear reactors at Hunterston should have closed last year but were given a 5 year extension. Scotland should be looking to energy efficiency and renewables for our future energy strategy, not encouraging ageing nuclear plants to limp on further into the future. Any additional extension for Hunterston would amount to nothing more than another bribe for EDF in the UK Government's desperate attempt to keep its nuclear dream going. Scotland doesn't need or want new nuclear and the sooner our old plants are replaced with clean energy the better.

"When Tony Blair was trying to sell us nuclear reactors they were going to cost £2bn each, recently the Government has been talking about £5bn each, but industry recently admitted the real cost would be £7bn or more. That kind of money would get you an awful lots of clean renewables, with the added advantage of not leaving you with radioactive waste to deal with. Let's opt for renewables where the costs are rapidly coming down, not nuclear where the cost keep rising."

Commenting specifically on the draft Energy Bill, Dr Richard Dixon said:

“Rigging the UK energy system in favour of dirty nuclear and gas power instead of clean renewables and energy efficiency is not what the country needs or wants. Opinion polls show that the public wants to see increased use of renewables and energy saving, not more money thrown after bad on nuclear power and fossil fuels.

“The Scottish Parliament should strongly resist an electricity market rigged in favour of nuclear and take steps to toughen up any weak Energy Performance Standard (EPS) which would simply lead to a dash for gas.”

Notes to Editors

[1] DECC press release on the Draft Energy Bill

[2] Guardian article - Nuclear reactor reprieve puts UK energy plans in doubt

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