I REFER to two recent items in the Sunday National – an interview with environmentalist George Monbiot headed “A chance to lead” (Oct 17) and an item headed “Pressure Grows on Scottish Government to oppose nuclear fusion site” on Oct 24.

HANT (Highlands Against Nuclear Transport) is a campaigning group opposing both nuclear weapons and nuclear power, which aligns with current SNP/Scottish Greens government policy.

There is much to commend in George Monbiot’s article, in which he states his belief that the Scottish Government could show the world a way out of the climate crisis and in particular the idea of pursuing “public luxury” with more public facilities, transport, health services and public land ownership as opposed to increasing private wealth and inequality.

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However, he fails to mention his support for nuclear power, which he described in an article in The Guardian in 2011 headed “Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power” in which he argued that nuclear was safer than coal and should be supported together with renewables, which he also has doubts about.

He claimed the effect of Fukushima was small for people and planet – clearly untrue, as 150,000 people had to be evacuated from the area and radiation spread over a wide area. 18,000 people were killed by the tsunami which caused the disaster – the clean-up by thousands of workers will continue for 30 years.

In relation to nuclear fusion, HANT stated its opposition to a pilot project proposed for Dounreay in Caithness and it has recently been announced that the bid for the project was unsuccessful.

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HANT supports Scottish CND’s opposition to the nuclear fusion project proposed for Ardeer in Ayrshire and urges the Scottish Government to oppose this project.

Attempts to harness nuclear fusion have been made in several countries for the last 70 years costing millions of pounds without success, and as Scottish CND points out there are concerns about safety, the production of waste and the potential link to nuclear weapons production.

Both support for new nuclear and support for nuclear fusion projects, along with proposals for small modular reactors, are all desperate attempts by the nuclear industry to revive nuclear at a time when it is in decline worldwide.

HANT would urge the Scottish Government to maintain its policy of opposition to nuclear weapons and to nuclear power of any kind.

Tor Justad
Chair, HANT (Highlands Against Nuclear Weapons)

I COULDN’T believe my eyes on reading Nan Spowart’s piece on the Scottish Government’s reaction to Ardeer being included on a UK Government shortlist for a nuclear fusion site. All my years supporting the party have been mostly on the basis of non-nuclear use. That we have the USA’s and the UK Government’s nuclear weapons in our own backyard is in itself an abomination, so to consider further proposals for nuclear fusion in Scotland is beyond belief.

Many things have tested the resilience of SNP supporters in recent years, including the delays and prevarication of the party in making practical steps towards independence. However, I’m sorry to say that should the Scottish Government allow this to happen, this could well very be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

D Moran
Thornhill, Dumfries & Galloway

THE objectors to the nuclear fusion site see things as black and white, and do not understand the technology. They are merely reacting to the tag “nuclear”, meaning everything associated with that is bad and must be banned. They forget about the medical uses of nuclear, for example, and fail to provide any answer to the conundrum of making sure there is sufficient energy available when renewables cannot meet demand.

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They aren’t able to articulate or acknowledge the consequences when that happens, and the reason why is that the answer conflicts with their profoundly held beliefs. They also forget that we are entirely dependent on and a direct product of the sun, which is an enormous unbounded fusion reactor, held together by its gravity. A direct result of this is that we are all continually exposed to a background level of electromagnetic and nuclear radiation about which there is nothing we can do.

Nuclear disarmament is nothing to do with fusion-based energy production, and while fission reactors came about to supply nuclear weapon material, fusion cannot be used for the same purpose. Naively objecting to everything that has the slightest and remotest link with their core beliefs does not help them get their arguments across, still less assure the public about future energy supplies. Creating fusion reactors allows two things: first, a very clean base load and in effect inexhaustible energy supply, and second the means of scrapping fusion rectors and consequently the source of nuclear weapon material. Fusion offers a way to achieve nuclear disarmament. All we have to do then is persuade states like Korea and Iran to do the same!

Nick Cole
Meigle, Perthshire