ONLY last week we had the UK Government Energy Minister Greg Hands use the suffering of the Ukrainian people to encourage the Scottish Government to reconsider their opposition to nuclear power as a way of bolstering our UK energy security.

Hands must have missed the memo entitled “Scotland Has Options” detailing the far safer and cheaper alternatives than nuclear power that we have. We are not dependent on Russian gas because we are already self-sufficient in domestic gas. In fact, we supply the rest of the UK with gas from the North Sea. Then there’s the not so small matter of the pillaging of oil and the vast profits that we have lost as Scots thanks to Tory policy. And now, as we accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels, we also produce almost 100% of our own electricity from renewables.

Of course, not one to let facts get in the way, Boris Johnson and Hands have also omitted to explain to the public that (a) nuclear power costs eye-watering sums and the tax payer will foot the bill, and (b) new nuclear power stations, even the small modular reactors that so many Tories are getting excited about, won’t produce any meaningful output until the 2030s.

The UK Government can’t have it both ways. If they want to go green as cheaply as possible, the answer is not nuclear power. If they want to go green as quickly as possible, the answer is not nuclear power. Not just that: if the whole emphasis is on energy security, or domestic security in general, then nuclear power stations and their toxic waste are sitting ducks for hostile states wishing to make some trouble for their so-called enemies.

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If you want to see the motivation here, it’s a case of follow the money – the return for investors in new nuclear power is what is exciting the neo-liberals in the Tory party, not energy security.

As I have already mentioned, Scotland has options to explore outwith nuclear given our unique potential as a renewables world leader, with 25% of Europe’s natural resources.

I have long argued for a comprehensive National Energy Company to ensure we make the most of this unique opportunity in a sustainable and fair way so that Scots can act as stakeholders in our natural resources, sharing the benefits rather than watching the profits drain into the pockets of just a handful of shareholders in private companies as we have seen with oil and gas.

Just looking at the current energy crisis, it’s never been more important to get this exciting national enterprise up and running and I hope my colleagues at Holyrood are now reconsidering the National Public Energy Agency replacement to tackle the twin challenges of crippling energy rises and climate change.

When it comes to renewables and innovation, Scotland would be better placed to put huge investment into hydrogen than nuclear power. Building hydrogen capacity means a comprehensive national industrial strategy to ensure we can become self-sufficient in terms of production and storage, manufacturing, supply chain, plus the creation of clusters between academia, private and public spheres and government. Good for the economy, good for jobs, good for the environment, good for citizens – it’s a no brainer.

There are also other huge options in extending both hydro power and geothermal heat which opens up opportunities for communities rather than see the benefits going to greedy landowners or faceless private equity companies.

Interestingly, Germany and its new coalition government seems to have got the message – in a world wracked with crisis after crisis, German economy minister Robert Habeck hit the nail on the head recently when he declared that “more urgently than ever, we need to invest in our energy sovereignty”. The German government, faced with their particular dependency on Russian energy imports, are taking a fully rounded view on the matter with Habeck insisting that they “must make every effort to become more independent and climate-neutral” with a €200 billion programme for industrial transformation by 2026. This will involve climate protection, hydrogen technology, the expansion of the electric vehicle charging network and the removal of renewable energy levies. Habeck has rejected calls to keep nuclear power plants online and the German public are supportive of this nuclear-free economy approach.

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Finally, the bare-faced truth in all this is that Scotland already carries a great burden of responsibility for the rest of the UK – not just in our endless bounty of renewables and supplies for export, not just as the so-called “Saudi Arabia of wind”, not just as the most innovative nation when it comes to wave and tidal energy for instance, but as the nation in the UK which houses the country’s nuclear weapons.

Nuclear is a dirty word for many Scots and for good reason. This is an emotive subject and coupled with the true financial cost of nuclear power and serious safety issues, this couldn’t be further from our sense of “security”.

We are vulnerable because we carry the nuclear weaponry burden as the most unequal of partners in this disunion of nations. We don’t owe any government, in any crisis, any addition to this terrible toxic millstone around our necks.

So, go ahead Boris Johnson, build them in your own backyard.

Scotland says no thanks to nuclear power. Again.

Douglas Chapman MP is the SNP spokesperson on defence procurement, peace and nuclear disarmament at Westminster