Lough Derg: the spirit of a holy place

IMAGE Wednesday, 04 April 2012
A small island in a lake called Lough Derg is one of the most famous of Ireland's places of pilgrimage. About 35,000 pilgrims come to it each year intent on doing penance for their sins or seeking divine intervention in their lives. Read More...

Nantes-Brest Canal, Brittany's popular leisure waterway

IMAGE Friday, 07 October 2011
The Nantes-Brest Canal is a 364 km long waterway connecting the city of Brest, on the west of Brittany, to the city of Nantes in the south east. Read More...

The shrine of the Cailleach at Glen Lyon

IMAGE Wednesday, 07 September 2011
Each year, in one of the most remote areas of Scotland, a family of stones are brought out of the house in the spring and returned to the house for the winter. The tradition stretches back thousands of years and the site is believed to be the only surviving shrine to the Celtic goddess Cailleach. Read More...

Newport Celtic Festival and Highland Games, Oregon

IMAGE Tuesday, 17 May 2011
A cultural celebration of the seven Celtic nations, the new festival on the Oregon coast features Celtic music, dance, food, drink, crafts, vendors, kids events, family histories and Highland Games. Read More...

World's largest tidal power project

IMAGE Thursday, 07 April 2011
The world's largest tidal stream energy array will be built in the Sound of Islay on Scotland's west coast. Read More...

Wales' new devolution settlement

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
Following the 'Yes' victory in the 3 March 2011 Referendum, Wales will now be able to pass its own laws in twenty policy fields. Read More...

The Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
The Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland has an unparalleled display of polygonal columns of basalt rock resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Read More...

No new nuclear power stations in Scotland

The Scottish Government has confirmed that it will block any moves to build new nuclear plants in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has confirmed that it will block any moves to build new nuclear plants in Scotland.

The news comes in response to Gordon Brown’s announcement that ten new nuclear power stations would be built to guarantee Britain’s energy needs beyond 2020. John Hutton, the UK government’s Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, has reacted angrily to the Scottish government’s refusal to build new nuclear stations, branding it a ‘political stunt’ and ‘irresponsible.’

Nuclear policy is a reserved power at Westminster; however Holyrood is the planning authority in Scotland and would have to approve any plans for new nuclear stations. The SNP government can therefore block any of the new stations being built in Scotland.

The friction between the two parliaments is a recent development, as this is the first time that a UK Labour government has had to contend with a parliament led by a hostile nationalist government. It also presents a paradoxical situation where the UK government is led by a Scottish MP, representing a Scottish constituency, will be unable to implement a policy in Scotland.

The SNP government have committed themselves to moving away from using nuclear power as a source of energy, focusing instead on renewable sources. In response to the UK government’s consultation, the Scottish government gave five reasons why they would not allow new nuclear stations to be built in Scotland.

1 - Scotland already produces more energy than it consumes and new technologies are far more secure than relying on the finite resources of imported uranium.

2 - Renewable energy generation produces less carbon emissions than nuclear power.

3 - No new nuclear power removes the need for transportation and disposal of nuclear waste - and potential terrorist threats.

4 - The costs of new nuclear power stations are likely to be significantly higher than the UK Government estimates - which will inevitably be passed on to consumers and taxpayers.

5 - Investing in renewables, energy efficiency and carbon capture would give the UK and Scotland a world lead in these technologies.

Jim Mather, the SNP Energy Minister, stated that “spending billions of pounds to develop nuclear power station could have a huge impact on the research and development of long-term clean energy alternatives. Instead, I want to see investment directed towards the development of green energy technologies in Scotland to give Scotland - and the UK - a world lead.”

At present, the renewable capacity in Scotland is approximately 2.5 Gigawatts of electricity. The Scottish government is currently considering planning applications that would double this capacity.

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Celtic Countries is the online magazine for people who enjoy the Celtic nations, their natural splendour, culture, and lifestyles.

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