Readers' Letters: Does Holyrood really know best on nuclear power?

Today there are 441 nuclear power plants in operation in 30 countries producing zero carbon electricity, reliably, safely and at acceptable cost. A further 51 reactors are currently under construction around the world.

President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at a French nuclear facility in February (Picture: JEAN-FRANCOIS BADIAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at a French nuclear facility in February (Picture: JEAN-FRANCOIS BADIAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

France , the world’s second biggest nuclear electricity provider, with capacity to meet 70 per cent of demand, has sufficient confidence in nuclear power to have recently announced plans to build 14 reactors to add to their present 56. They have also announced a 4 per cent electricity price cap for this year compared with 54 per cent in the UK.Ministers in Holyrood have decided that engineers and scientists, worldwide, are all misguided, and will therefore prevent any nuclear power plant construction in Scotland.Is this another example of ministers with no relevant knowledge or experience letting Scotland down or is it perhaps another opportunity to disagree with Westminster?

W B Campbell, Edinburgh

Renewed interest

The Scottish Government is right to reject new nuclear power stations for reasons not only of the cost to this and many subsequent generations in managing radioactive waste. Scotland also does not need to import vastly expensive nuclear fuel, which it would for new nuclear power stations.Instead the emphasis needs to be not just on intermittent wind and solar power, but on reliable renewable and sustainable power generation.The tidal streams of the Pentland Firth and Bluemull Sound could not only be harnessed to produce significant amounts of UK’s electricity demand. The nearby Flotta and Sullom Voe terminals could also be repurposed using tidal power to produce and export hydrogen – a fuel which the Bank of America estimates will attract investment in the order of $13 trillion by 2050.

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Cross sector working between the government and the private sector has to now be the priority, to develop and implement a long-term strategy to transform the economy and utilise the natural wealth of Scotland.

Elizabeth Marshall, Edinburgh

Tax tourists

I was delighted to read the report that the SNP are planning to introduce a Tourist Tax if they win control in Edinburgh in next month’s local authority elections. This is long overdue.

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I simply cannot understand why the introduction of such a tax has been delayed for so long. My wife and I have been fortunate enough over the past few years to have visited several European countries. In addition, we have been making regular trips to Japan to visit our two sons, who live and work in Tokyo. It is standard practice in all of the countries that we have visited to have a local “bed tax” added on to your hotel bill. On a recent visit to Belgium a local tax of €2.14 per person per night was added to our bill. With over 12 million visitor nights per year in Edinburgh, such a modest charge would raise a considerable sum for the city. It has been claimed that such a tax would discourage tourists from coming to Edinburgh. I just simply cannot accept this as an argument. The price of a cup of coffee is not going to discourage visitors to our city. The addition of such a bed tax on our overseas hotel bills has never been seen by us as a deterrent. Visitors will continue to flock to Scotland in very large numbers.

At a time when public services have been under such strain and faced with the grim prospect of yet more austerity to come, surely now is the time to add to the funds available to our local authorities in a way that does not add to the burdens already being carried by taxpayers in Scotland.

Eric Melvin, Edinburgh

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Scotland 'risks paying the price' of SNP's opposition to nuclear, warns Labour

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We need Nato

One of the stark lessons of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is that nuclear armed powers enjoy a special protection. Nato’s military resources, vastly superior in number and technological capability, could bring to a swift end to the barbarity of the Russian army in Ukraine. What stops Nato? Vladimir Putin’s threat that he might deploy his nuclear weapons.

Appalling as nuclear weapons are, their deterrent effect has been proved time and again. That is the reality that unilateralists have to face up to. That is the reality that the Scottish National Party has to face up to. Would Putin have invaded Ukraine if that smaller country had retained its Soviet nuclear weapons on the break-up of the Soviet Union? He would not.

The left of centre parties in Germany have woken up abruptly to the reality of their defence needs following the invasion. Will the Scottish National Party do the same? Will it abandon its opposition to the nuclear submarine base at Faslane? Or will it continue on its course as “freeloaders”, happy to shelter under the Nato nuclear umbrella but unwilling to make a contribution to it?

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CS Millar, Ilkley, West Yorkshire

Craven logic

Malcolm Parkin appears to advocate denying lethal aid or even moral support to our Ukranian friends on the grounds that “we must now surely expect some retaliation” from Russia (Letters, 11 April). Such craven logic was used to justify appeasement in the 1930s and joining hands around Greenham Common during the Cold War. Putin's barbaric assault on Ukraine exposes the stark lunacy of the anti-nuclear SNP and their pacifist Green allies.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

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True story?

Tuesday was another day for the Russians to celebrate. It was the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first man in space: a triumph of the USSR, a repressive, totalitarian regime which consistently lied to its people. When I was a boy, a friend mentioned that his father had been in the RAF and was a radio ham in the early Sixties. I believe that he may have been one of those service personnel who were trained in Russian language and listening-in skills to Russian radio broadcasts in Crail, post-war. His father had heard a Russian cosmonaut speaking to base as he attempted to re-enter the atmosphere of the Earth before Gagarin's successful flight. The poor man never made it.

This celebrated date would seem to be yet another example of the Russian people being sold a lie.

Peter Hopkins, Edinburgh

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Denying reality

The extremism of the SNP/Green administration is underlined yet again by Lorna Slater accusing women's rights activists of being the equivalent of “racists or anti-Semites”. Lorna Slater is the co-leader of the Greens and she is also critical of the BBC airing the opinions of those who disagree with her party's extreme climate policies (very rarely) which would have us in the Stone Age. Her comments clearly show that cancelling differing views would be her preference. This is because there is only one view allowed in the world of the SNP and Greens.

We should remember that the Greens are the party whose knowledge of nature is so poor that they think you need to slaughter a sheep to get its wool! We all also remember the opinions of SNP MSPs that those of us who do not vote SNP and who do not believe in breaking up the UK are not “real Scots”. She views a balanced debate on transgender individuals as “disgusting”. This is more of the same disturbing rhetoric which belongs in a totalitarian state.A man who takes hormones and wears women’s clothes is still a man. If he has “gender reassignment” surgery, he is still a man, even if somewhat less so. If he competes in women's sporting events, he still has all the advantages of his masculine development, making any idea of fair play laughable. Check his chromosomes. If he has an X and a Y, whatever perfume he is wearing, he is male and the thing which is deeply worrying is the refusal of the SNP and the Green SNP to acknowledge that that is reality.

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

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Challenge evil

On a youth exchange to Nuremberg some 40 plus years ago, the German leader turned out to be a member of a “Young Nazi” organisation and was an extremely cold self-centred individual with extreme views. However, his father was a very gentle, former Luftwaffe pilot who was ashamed and worried about his son's views and actions. Similarly, this leader's friends all expressed a sense of horror at this “resurrection from their past”. Watching the news from Ukraine, I am reminded of that past and how unacceptable and terrible evil can be masked behind actions prompted by either a sense of nationalism or fighting for a cause.

When people, including many soldiers, are presented with false truth, which masks evil intent, then there is a recipe for potential horrors: evil has freedom to wreak its worst... I don't believe evil, hiding behind lies and misdirected information, will ever disappear on its own. Perhaps sending arms etc to Ukraine will result in victory but what a gamble with lives. Evil is evil and in the end must be eradicated and not simply swept under a carpet of “saving face” or “protecting our living standards”.

James Watson, Dunbar, East Lothian

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Get to game

I'm surprised that Alan Pattulo (Scotsman, 12 April) didn't seek a different angle when commenting on the Scottish Premiership live TV match selections from Sky Sports for the rest of the season. Why not make a virtue of the lack of TV coverage and push to get a capacity crowd at Dens Park for the crucial Dundee vs St Johnstone match? If it is truly “all to play for” then the fans of both clubs should turn out in their droves. The sad fact is, they won't. You can't blame Sky for focusing on where the wider interest is when so many supporters of those clubs he mentions fail to show up outside of cup finals. Switch the TV off and get along to the game.

J Lewis, Edinburgh

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