HOW fitting that you publish a letter on Monday from Tor Justed of Highlands Against Nuclear Transport (HANT) (A reminder why we need nuclear-free campaign, The National, April 27), this week being the anniversary of the explosion and fire at Chernobyl nuclear reactor in the Ukraine in 1986. Radiation spread over the USSR and western Europe and the death toll is believed to be thousands over the following years from the cancers caused. Some areas near the reactors are now uninhabitable.

The three nuclear meltdowns and explosions at Fukushima reactor in Japan after the Tsunami of March 2011 were of an equal severity to Chernobyl. A subsequent inquiry found the scenario was foreseeable but had not been prepared for.

READ MORE: UK used Scotland as nuclear dumping ground for decades

To propose new reactors in the UK and transporting deadly plutonium to fuel them risks disaster.

As well as the risks, we know from numerous examples that nuclear power is enormously expensive.

Hinkley C in Somerset, currently being built, will, if completed and it actually works, produce the most expensive electricity in the world, ever!

Meanwhile cash-strapped EDF lobbies our governments hard to allow the ageing Torness and Hunterston reactors, pictured, to carry on beyond their design lives despite one Hunterston reactor having extensive cracks in its graphite blocks, vital for safety. Anyone with commonsense can see the precautionary principle applies here and that a shut down reactor in this condition should stay shut down. An accident and release of radiation from Hunterston could cause central Scotland to be evacuated – permanently.

And last but not least we have the biggest arsenal of nuclear weapons in Western Europe based a few miles from Helensburgh. These missile subs could destroy the lives of millions and are, of course, a target themselves. A government report in the late-1950s concluded that a nuclear war would annihilate the country and that civil defence was pointless. With Trump in the White House don’t assume we won’t end up in a nuclear confrontation that could take us all into the abyss. Year round the warheads are driven up and down our roads with all the risks of terrorism and crashes that entails.

Fifty years ago the UK signed up to a nuclear non-proliferation treaty that committed us to negotiating nuclear disarmament in good faith. Nothing has happened in that direction, a conspiracy of silence by the UK political parties and the media.

So, yes, HANT, you’re right, we need everyone to lobby for a nuclear-free future in Scotland and worldwide, and thank you for your campaigning.

Malcolm Bruce
Edinburgh

IN consideration of a universal basic income (UBI) there are many complex operational considerations, but with one fundamental choice of underlying principle, that underpins the work/reward protocols of society.

We are all effectively paid state employees, from cradle to grave, with pay then topped up by other public or private employers/clients. – UBI.

Or we are all effectively paid employees of the public or private employer/client model, with pay then rigorously means-tested and topped up by the state, as and if deemed required, during our available working lives. Prior to commencement of our working lives, and after our working lives, the state will assess our and others financial means, and if deemed required after rigorous assessment, payments may be made by the state – means-tested welfare.

For the poorer half of society, a) puts the private employer/client in the determination of the level of pay differentials (capitalism), whereas for b) the state determines the effective levels of pay differentials (socialism).

These fundamentals show up some apparently perverse support by the Conservative and Unionist Party for option b), but these fundamentals shown above, rely on society being considered inclusive of both the poorer and richer halves, and not the poorer half being merely a commodity, which perhaps explains such an anomaly.

Stephen Tingle
Greater Glasgow

IT is tragic that deaths in care homes have overtaken those in hospitals The most vulnerable in society are enclosed together with the Covid-19 virus just one visitor away.

The media have jumped on the statistics with their usual excitement. They seem to have forgotten to mention that the vast majority of care homes in Scotland are privately run. When an elderly person stays at home, they are expected to survive on £145 per week. Last year the private care homes said they were struggling to care for their residents with only £650 per week, threatening the Government with evicting public-funded clients. In the public sector, care homes can access all necessary equipment and services, but with profit being the incentive in the private sector, can we trust the same?

The staff in the care homes are every bit the heroes that are the NHS, maybe even more so in that they are locked down with their residents. I just wonder if too much consideration is given by management to the bottom line.

Jim McGregor
Kirkintilloch