• News Desk

Struan urges rethink on nuclear




Struan Mackie urged the Scottish Government to 'follow the science’ and listen to communities such as Caithness and north Sutherland.

North MSP Maree Todd has been accused of "peddling misinformation" and doing a disservice to generations of local workers by expressing her opposition to a new mini-reactor being built in Caithness.

Dounreay Stakeholder Group chairman Struan Mackie claimed Ms Todd was disregarding the clear will of people in the far north "to remain a nuclear community" and argued that the industry should be seen as part of the net-zero solution.

He spoke out after Ms Todd, the SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, said this week that she could not support the idea of a small modular reactor (SMR) being developed in her constituency. She pointed to the "high cost and high risk" associated with nuclear power.

Rolls-Royce hopes to build up to 10 SMR power stations by 2035 and there have been calls for one to be established in Caithness.

Councillor Mackie represents Thurso and Northwest Caithness on Highland Council as a Scottish Conservative and Unionist.


"Instead of standing shoulder to shoulder with our nuclear workforce and supply chain businesses across the north, it is deeply disappointing that our SNP MSP has chosen to toe her party line on nuclear," he said.

"For decades, workers in the far north developed, prototyped and operated some of the most advanced technology in the civil and defence nuclear fields – bringing with it prosperity and opportunity to our region that was unprecedented.


"The work on our sites shaped the future of the modern nuclear industry, which is safe, reliable and an obvious part of the solution in achieving net-zero. A repeatable modular solution would drive down costs and sustain high-value work in predominantly rural communities.

"Suggesting that nuclear fission is a high-risk option is simply peddling misinformation and does a disservice to the generations of workers who have worked in this highly regulated environment.


"It is very clear that the workers at Dounreay and Vulcan see themselves as nuclear workers, with the vast majority surveyed making it clear that they wish to stay in the industry if they can. Instead of transitioning into alternative employment, like the Scottish Government suggests, they may well leave our community to work at other nuclear sites at home or abroad.

Rolls-Royce hopes to build up to 10 small modular reactors by 2035 and there have been calls for one to be located in Caithness.

"It is a completely preventable situation if the Scottish Government ‘follows the science’ and listens to communities like Caithness and north Sutherland.

"By choosing to side with her central belt colleagues in the SNP and the Scottish Greens, Maree Todd has chosen to disregard the very clear will from the far north of Scotland to remain a nuclear community and seek new development. The last Member of Parliament who did the same lost his seat after one term." Full article available here: https://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/msp-accused-of-disregarding-very-clear-will-from-far-north-266288/