THE Greens have hit back at claims the Scottish Government should rethink its opposition to building new nuclear power stations. 

Greg Hands, the UK energy minister, insisted in an interview this morning he hoped the war in Ukraine had given Scotland a "pretext" to get behind nuclear power and be part of its development.

He went on to say the UK had a "really strong safety regime" and laws were coming into place which would reduce its cost.

But Scottish Greens economy spokesperson Maggie Chapman said using nuclear power would be a "backwards step" that would leave a "toxic legacy for centuries".

"There is nothing secure about nuclear power," she said.

"It is neither safe nor reliable and, as Hinkley Point shows, it is very expensive – customers will have to pay for it on top of the current cost of living crisis.

The National:

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"Especially now, the last thing we need is a backwards step towards the nuclear industry, which would cost hundreds of millions of pounds while leaving a toxic legacy for centuries and it will take years to get on stream.

“Scotland has amazing potential in clean renewable energy, but it requires the political will to meet that. With Greens in government Scotland is paving the way for expansion, but while energy policy is reserved we’ve seen vast subsidies channelled into fossil fuels and nuclear by successive UK Governments.”

The National: Greg Hands MP

Hands said: "Nuclear is going to be a big part of our energy future. I think the Russian invasion of Ukraine should hopefully have given them [the Scottish Government] a pretext for a rethink.

"There is never a better time to bring more nuclear power to Scotland."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to meet with leaders of the nuclear industry today to discuss expansion ahead of a new UK energy security strategy coming into place either later this week or early next. 

The Scottish Government has made clear it is opposed to building new nuclear power stations because it believes it represents poor value for consumers. 

On its website, the Government says: "This is clear from the contract awarded by the UK Government to Hinkley Point C nuclear station in Somerset, which will result in energy consumers subsidising its operation until 2060."