SSE To Move Out Of Nuclear Power

SSE to follow Siemens out of the nuclear industry

On Thursday Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) announced its wish to end its involvement in the project  to build new nuclear reactors at Sellafield. The company said it would make an “official announcement in the next few days” about its energy plans, which could see the firm selling its 25 per cent stake in the NuGen consortium to the other partners,  Iberdrola  and GDF Suez.

There has been the inevitable temptation for the Scottish government to interpret this as  a vindication of SNP energy policy, with the Minister for Energy, Fergus Ewing, claiming:  “Some of the biggest energy companies, both Scottish-based and international firms, are making major investments in Scotland’s huge renewable energy potential, and we warmly welcome the fact that leading energy companies increasingly see the future as one powered by renewables rather than nuclear.”

While there may be an element of truth in this it is worth remembering that SSE have no nuclear track record, owns two huge wind farms and may simply be choosing  a particular type of technology to concentrate on for the future.   Ian Marchant, the CEO of SSE, is on record as saying in May that  SSE had   “no experience in running a nuclear plant, so  we would inevitably be the junior partner of a consortium, whereas in  renewables, we could be leading a consortium”.

Nonetheless, coming so closely on the heels of  Siemens’ decision to pull out of the nuclear industry altogether this is a discouraging announcement for those determined to push forward  UK plans for new nuclear build that simultaneously sends a strong signal to the Scottish government to continue to accelerate  the deployment of renewables.  No new nuclear South of the border would imply a bigger market for low-carbon Scottish electricity.


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