NUCLEAR power is more valuable to Scotland's economy than anywhere else in the UK, according to new statistics.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that Scotland the nuclear power sector was worth more than £660m to Scotland's economy in 2014, and employed around 2000 full-time staff.

In Scotland, nuclear power accounts for nearly 12 per cent of all turnover from low-carbon industries - including wind, hydro and solar - compared to 7.5 per cent in England.

As a proportion of turnover from all generating low carbon industries, including wind, hydro and solar, nuclear accounts for 11.8 per cent of the turnover – while in England, the proportion is just 7.5 per cent.

Scotland also has a higher percentage of its low-carbon industry workforce in the nuclear power sector - 9.3 per cent compared to 6.7 per cent in England.

In Scotland, Hunterston A nuclear power plant in Ayrshire is in the process of being decommissioned. Hunterston B will remain open until 2023. Torness power station near Dunbar is to remain in operation until 2030.

Tom Greatrex, Labour's former Shadow Energy Secretary and MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, said the figures unlined the value of nuclear to Scotland.

Mr Greatrex, who is now chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “While some commentators pit low carbon technologies against each other, each has a role to play and must work together to replace the ageing generation plant, improve security of supply and reduce our carbon emissions in line with legally binding targets.

“To meet the objective of a secure low carbon generation mix, new nuclear will need to be part of a broad mix for the future.”

More than 70 per cent of Scotland’s electricity is generated by low carbon sources compared to 39 per cent for the UK as a whole. In Scotland, around two thirds of low-carbon electricity come from renewable sources with the rest from nuclear.

However, the SNP is committed to axing nuclear and generating 100 per cent of Scotland's electricity from renewables.

A spokesman for the SNP said the party supported extensions for existing nuclear power stations but remained "absolutely committed to diversifying our low carbon sector".

He added: "With the right support for renewables we can unlock billions in investment, creating more jobs and a sustainable industry for the future - which does not come with the huge expense of more nuclear power stations.”

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said nuclear was "neither low carbon nor a part of the solution to climate change".

He said: "These statistics are not comparing like for like in terms of jobs or turnover. In England, the jobs are in building new stations like the quixotic Hinkley Point whereas jobs in Scotland are mostly keeping old stations struggling on.

"Ironically, there will be plenty of jobs for years to come in cleaning up the toxic mess created by the nuclear industry."