The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Responds has condemned plans announced by Alister Jack to build a new nuclear power station in Scotland.

Mr Jack, the Scottish Secretary, told a House of Lords committee yesterday that UK ministers have been asked to plan for a nuclear power plant north of the border despite objections from the devolved administration.

Both governments have been at loggerheads over the issue in recent years, with politicians in Edinburgh refusing to back plans for a reactor north of the border.

But during an appearance at a House of Lords Committee, Mr Jack said he has instructed UK ministers to begin planning for such a development.

READ MORE: Jack: UK government planning nuclear reactors in Scotland

He predicted a unionist administration will be in power in Scotland after the next Holyrood election in 2026 which would give the new plant the go ahead.

Lynn Jamieson, Scottish CND chair, said: "Scottish CND condemns the Conservative plan to build a new nuclear power station in Scotland.

"The claim, nuclear power helps climate change, is a dishonest gloss over the support this industry gives to the UK’s nuclear-weapon programme plus harms of its toxic processes, uranium mining and legacies of nuclear waste.

READ MORE: SNP attack £200m extra for nuclear deterrent and industry

"This is without pointing out that the tons of concrete, enormous costs and slow time scales are also all a total mismatch with the immediate urgency of the climate emergency.

"All of this, in climate terms, makes it as mad as investing in new oil fields. Then there is the harm to the Scottish people. Another nuclear target while our UK government boasts about its ability to threaten half the world with nuclear death, the risks of accidents and the inevitable radioactive emissions when cooling gas is released to the atmosphere. All this when we don't need it as renewables give us power cheaper, cleaner and faster."

Under questioning from longtime SNP opponent Lord Foulkes, Mr Jack said: “On the small nuclear reactors, I have asked the energy minister to plan for one in Scotland.

READ MORE: STUC to ramp up pressure on ministers over nuclear power

“I believe that in 2026 we’ll see a unionist regime again in Holyrood and they will move forward with that.”

He added that he does not “see any point in having a great fight over it” given the “timescales in front of us” – likely an allusion to the upcoming general election expected this year.

Mr Jack, speaking at the Lords’ Constitution Committee on Wednesday, also hit out at the SNP-led Scottish Government, insisting devolution has not failed but that there has been “bad governance”.

He added: “We have a UK Government supportive of devolution, and an SNP-led Scottish Government that opposes devolution.

“A nationalist administration whose political interests are not served by devolution succeeding.

“So of course there has been tension between Scotland’s two governments.

“But friction is not evidence of devolution failing.”

One of Scotland's ageing nuclear power stations, the Hunterston B plant in North Ayrshire, was shut down in January 2022. A second plant at Torness in East Lothian is due to close in 2028, two years earlier than originally planned. Each plant accounts for more than 500 jobs.

Over recent years trade unions have been pressing SNP ministers to reverse their long held opposition to the building of new nuclear power stations arguing that Scotland is missing out on jobs in the sector.

Speaking at FMQs today John Swinney insisted the Scottish Government will have “nothing to do” with a new nuclear power station and hit out at the “menacing” behaviour of the Scottish Secretary.

The First Minister reacted angrily after Mr Jack revealed he has instructed UK ministers to start planning work for a nuclear plant in Scotland.

Mr Swinney told MSPs on Thursday that Mr Jack has “made no mention of this proposal to the Scottish Government” – which has powers over planning north of the border.

The First Minister added: “This is utterly and completely incompatible with good intergovernmental working and is illustrative of the damaging behaviour, the menacing behaviour, of the Secretary of State for Scotland.”

He was asked about Mr Jack’s comments by SNP backbencher Rona Mackay, who noted the UK minister’s suggestion came despite “opposition from the democratically-elected Scottish Government” to new nuclear power.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Mr Swinney was clear: “The Scottish Government will not support new nuclear power stations in Scotland.”

He said his Government instead supports investment in “the renewable energy potential in Scotland”, adding “massive investments” in this sector could “bring jobs and opportunities to the Highlands and islands and deliver green, clean energy for the people of Scotland”.Mr Swinney said: “That’s the policy agenda of this Government and we will have nothing to do with nuclear power.”

“Small modular reactors, while innovative in construction and size, still generate electricity using nuclear fission and therefore the process presents the same environmental concerns as traditional, nuclear power plants.

“We believe that significant growth in renewables, storage, hydrogen and carbon capture provides the best pathway to net zero by 2045 and will deliver secure, affordable and clean energy supplies for Scotland’s households, business and communities.”