NICOLA Sturgeon has hit back at the UK Government’s plans for new nuclear power plants after The National revealed the Tories were considering building one in Scotland.

The First Minister said “nobody’s ever yet worked out what to do with the waste” generated by atomic power and said it was “expensive” compared with renewables.

It comes after The National revealed the Tories’ new energy strategy – which said no new nuclear plants would be built in Scotland – contradicted current UK Government policy which officials confirmed was still exploring the possibility of a new site in Ayrshire.

READ MORE: UK Government contradicts Kwasi Kwarteng 'no more nuclear in Scotland' claim

Speaking at the launch of the SNP’s Glasgow manifesto launch on Saturday, the First Minister told reporters: “We don’t support new nuclear.

The National:

Construction work on the circular reinforced concrete and steel home of a reactor at Nuclear Island 1, at Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant near Bridgwater in Somerset.

"It is an expensive form of energy compared to many renewable resources and, increasingly, wind energy and nobody’s ever yet worked out what to do with the waste from nuclear energy.

“Scotland has vast renewable potential – we see that in offshore wind. I think one of the missed opportunities – for entirely political reasons – in the UK Government’s was around onshore wind, failing to increase generation from onshore wind.

“But we’ve also got vast offshore wind resources which we see in the recent ScotWind auction round, so that’s where we should be focusing.

“From the perspective of securing energy, independence and security but also cheaper energy bills in the longer-term renewables is where we need to put our efforts and – pardon the pun – our energies over the period ahead.”

We revealed previously how the UK Government was still considering Ardeer in North Ayrshire as the potential site for a prototype nuclear fusion energy plant.

It seems to directly contradict assurances given last week by Tory Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng (below) who said ministers had “no plans to impose nuclear reactors in Scotland”.

The National:

Ardeer is one of the five sites being considered, with the other four in England, as part of the UK Atomic Energy Authority's Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (Step) programme.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has confirmed Ardeer is still in the running and that other sites are being considered.

READ MORE: SNP set out vision for greener Glasgow in council election manifesto

An announcement confirming the site is expected by the end of this year.

On the UK Government’s plans to launch a new licencing round for North Sea oil and gas later this year, Sturgeon said fossil fuels were “a key part of our energy provision right now” but warned Scotland must invest more in renewable energy.

She added: “[The oil and gas industry] supports a lot of jobs and economic activity and it will be a key part of the transition to net zero.

“But in terms of future energy requirements, it is incumbent on all countries… to invest in renewables and low-carbon sources of energy to support that transition away from fossil fuels and to do that in a fair and just way that supports jobs and economy.”

Nuclear fusion works by forcing atoms together to create heat which is converted into electricity but it has never worked on a scale large enough to be a viable source of energy.