Report highlights financial contribution of nuclear industry to economy of Scotland
Published: 18 Dec 2017 By Matt Cook
According to a new report, the nuclear sector contributed over £1 billion to the Scottish economy last year and currently supports over 12,000 nuclear industry jobs.
The recent research carried out by experts at Oxford Economics on behalf of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) studied the overall contribution the two nuclear stations made to the economy. The research also explored the impacts of the other companies involved in supplying the nuclear sites.
The report suggests that over 4,000 people are directly employed in the sector. However, when including the companies that are directly connected with the industry, the overall figure increased to more than 12,000.
There are two nuclear stations currently in operation in Scotland. This includes the Hunterston B in Ayrshire and Torness in East Lothian. However, there are also several Scottish companies that are directly involved in the development of the new Hinkley Point C project and the decommissioning work at Dounreay plant in the Highlands.
The report indicates that just over a fifth of all electricity generation in the UK came from nuclear power last year. This makes nuclear energy the second largest source of energy generation, behind gas. The Torness station generated enough energy to power over 2.5 million homes, which makes it the largest energy output of any nuclear station within the UK.
The report also highlights the overall carbon emission savings from the two stations, identifying that Torness and Hunterston combined saved the equivalent carbon emissions equating to taking nearly every vehicle off Scottish roads. The report was part of the NIA nuclear activity report which intends to highlight the role and benefits nuclear energy can have within our energy mix.
The chief executive of NIA, Tom Greatrex believes the data is very valuable in emphasizing how important the civil nuclear industry in generating employment, contributing to the economy and creating a low carbon form of energy.
Geatrex believes the industry can create wealth and prosperity across the country - supporting people in areas where employment has and continues to be difficult. However, despite Geatrex and the NIA positivity towards what opportunities and carbon savings the nuclear industry could have in Scotland, the Scottish Government are in opposition. Both sites are due to be closed by 2030 and Geatrex believes that this means all benefits of nuclear power and the progress made within the industry will be lost.