WITHIN and around Alister Jack’s beautiful, "remote and sparsely populated” parliamentary constituency, there are several appalling examples of the consequences when arrogance, aggression, deliberate ignorance and outright folly are combined with the lethal hazards of nuclear radiation ("Tory plan for Scots reactors, The Herald, May 16).

At Chapelcross, the main concern is the long-term contamination of land and groundwater by Tritium, discharged over four decades by the nuclear reactors there, both deliberately and accidentally. At Dundrennan, thousands of depleted uranium shells have been fired into the Solway Firth and abandoned. In the 1980s, Americium 241, from Sellafield in Cumbria, was found in the River Cree: this radioactive contamination of the Solway Firth and Scotland’s coasts, from the most dangerous nuclear site in Europe, has continued for the last 40 years.

In 1976, the Westminster Government accepted the Flowers Report recommendation that no more nuclear reactors should be commissioned until a safe and reliable method of storing nuclear waste was established. Therefore, as part of Westminster’s desperate rush to try nuclear again, with a cynical nod to scientific credibility, the bed of the Solway Firth, already carrying that cocktail of nuclear discharges from Sellafield, has been subjected to seismic blasting. And Westminster will surely confirm very soon that it is safe to dump, out of sight and out of mind, all the highly radioactive waste from the leaking tanks at Sellafield.

But there is no safe method of containing nuclear waste. There is no reliable material to resist the corrosive effects of radiation. This has been known for over 50 years and has been demonstrated yet again in France where in 2022 stress-related corrosion caused over 12 reactors to be shut down at the same time In April last year, the German Government finally shut down all nuclear reactors; there will be no further experiments with nuclear power in in one of the most technically advanced nations in the world.Their reasons included the fact that no safe method of waste disposal had been established and the consequences of nuclear accidents like Fukushima and Chernobyl are too devastating to risk further mistakes. Germany is now leading the world on the development and storage of alternative energy sources. We might have hoped that Westminster would heed their example.

Alas, the “Great British Nuclear” folly, Hinkley Point C, is already more than six years behind schedule, three times over budget and if it follows the pattern of its only counterpart in Flamanville in France, it will be shut down for repairs and replacements of vital parts within months of trials beginning. UK taxpayers will be footing the bill for many decades to come.

Fifty years ago, Westminster chose beautiful Galloway as the UK high-level nuclear waste dump on the grounds that it was “remote and sparsely populated” with communities who were unsophisticated and unlikely to protest effectively. That arrogance and aggression was answered by a fierce and devastatingly effective political campaign, involving the whole of Scotland, which cornered the incoming Secretary State for Scotland, George Younger, MP for Ayr, with nowhere to hide.

Mr Jack’s remarks to the House of Lords Select Committee last week, a very ugly reminder of how Westminster regards Scotland, should be answered just as fiercely and effectively.

Frances McKie, Evanton.

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• NUCLEAR power is the answer to our energy problems and ticks every box. So it is wonderful news that plans for future UK power provision for what will be our 60 million-plus population include a nuclear power plant in Scotland. At last.

It will be clean energy that does not require the wind to be blowing at a certain speed or in a certain direction and does not need stand-by gas or coal stations in case it is not. That alone should have the nationalists and Greens drooling. Nor does it entail the blighting of our pristine countryside in forests of wind turbines and obscene profits for those on whose land they run.

Clarity and common sense at last. Only dogmatists and the blindly anti-nuclear could find fault. France has been relying on nuclear power for generations.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

Proposal is easily thwarted

WESTMINSTER wants to fill Scotland with the nuclear plants that it does not want on English soil. Alister Jack wants our legislation to be subject to oversight by that collection of geriatric has-beens in the House of Lords which Toom Tabard himself is about to join. Cheered on by his fellow Tories, he wants to put the SNP back in its box to rounds of applause from what passes as a Scottish Conservative Party north of the Border.

Now Rishi Sunak refuses to modify his ignorant "If you want independence, you are an extremist”. That does not bother me. I like being counted with George Washington, Nelson Mandela and Gandhi, and so should he!

When he demands that we build another nuclear power station and intends to ignore Scottish opinion to the contrary, I hope that Scotland will stand firmly against it. We already have enough power for Scottish needs. Does he realise that he is forcing Scotland into demanding independence sooner rather than later?

As he himself, admits all this depends on having a unionist government in Holyrood. We Scots know what to do about that.

Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh.

Indy is not secession

MARK McGeoghan's piece ("Yes and No can learn from the Spanish", The Herald, May 17) starts with the false premise "When attempting to secede from a state, as the Scottish independence movement seeks to do...".

The Scottish independence movement, if successful, will result in the dissolution of the UK. A secessionist movement, by definition, seeks to leave a state or union. There will be no UK if independence is gained; the "marriage" would be over. The outcomes of a secessionist movement and a movement that ends a state are therefore different. The comparison with Catalonia/Spain and Scotland/UK needs qualification at least.

Slovakia and the Czech Republic, for example, did not secede from one another, they ended the union, albeit by mutual agreement.

The bits that are left of the former UK can call themselves what they wish but it would certainly not be the United Kingdom.

Don Ferguson, Kirkintilloch.

Medical emergency

THE word "emergency" and the title "SNP" seem synonymous these days (" Holyrood declares national housing emergency after government U-turn", The Herald, May 16) and unfortunately there is another emergency happening right now that has escaped attention.

It is the state of the Scottish NHS but more particularly the way the SNP has tried to mask the lack of general medical practitioners by farming out as much as possible to pharmacists, nurses and other ancillary staff. These people do a great job under the pressures put upon them but they are not doctors and have not had the rigorous training required. This will inevitably lead to mistakes as inexperienced staff are pushed into frontline positions. There is no substitute for the real thing.

The SNP has lead Scotland into a quagmire of problems. The way out is unclear. There is no emergency exit.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

The Herald: When will Rishi Sunak call a General Election?When will Rishi Sunak call a General Election? (Image: Getty)

Give us an election now

WHAT song best sums up the election campaigns of both Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer?

I would go for "We're a couple of swells". That would suit them both down to the ground and they are both cut from the same cloth.

Mr Sunak tries to present himself with every fresh relaunch as the face of change, although our failing public services, our depleted military personnel and run-down arsenal as well as the feeble upturn of the economy all tell a different story, which explains why the electorate is desperate for a new look at Westminster.

Sir Keir is doing his best with his six pledges to set himself up as the coming man but he is haunted by his past which is resplendent with equivocation and hampered by his distinct lack of personality, which his adoption of a pair of spectacles to give himself the look of a serious politician does nothing to burnish.

The opinion polls suggest that tedium with the Tories will play to Sir Keir's advantage much better than the lassitude surrounding Labour, which does not inspire much enthusiasm with the voters.

All we the public have to look forward to is a long-drawn-out electoral campaign designed to make our eyes and ears bleed with the slurs thrown up by both parties at one another which will drain us of the will to live.

Mr Sunak could put an end to such misery by calling the General Election sooner rather than hanging on to the last minute in the hope that his fortunes will turn.

Do us all a favour, Prime Minister, bite the bullet and take your chances, even if the odds are stacked against you.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.