Salmond calls for nuclear waste management powers

First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Jane Barlow
First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Jane Barlow
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HOLYROOD should unite around calls for devolution of the appropriate powers to manage and prevent incidents involving nuclear waste in its waters, the First Minister has said.

Alex Salmond was responding to an incident in the Moray Firth earlier this week when a ship carrying radioactive material began drifting after losing power.

The ship, named Parida, suffered a blaze in one of her funnels on Tuesday and began drifting towards the Beatrice oil platform, which was then shut down and evacuated as a precaution.

About 52 people were lifted off the platform by rescue helicopter.

The Parida was taking a cargo of radioactive waste from Scrabster to Antwerp.

Commenting on the incident at First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood, Mr Salmond said the Scottish Government had co-ordinated relevant authorities to make sure the incident was handled safely.

“Unfortunately the Office of Nuclear Regulation had not had sufficient consultation with these authorities before this incident took place,” he said.

“It is significantly unsatisfactory to find that boats carrying consignments of nuclear waste have to wait for a weather window in October in the North Sea in order to carry forward their trip.

“It is also of significant concern that apparently a minor incident in a boat of this kind can result in it being totally without power, with the consequence of an evacuation of an oil platform as a result.

“I think therefore this whole chamber should result in looking for the devolution of the relevant authority to make sure that Scotland has the power not just to handle these incidents but to make sure as far as possible they don’t occur in the first place.”