At COP28 last weekend, the UK, the USA and countries around the world endorsed a goal to triple nuclear power capacity worldwide by 2050 to save the planet and deliver good, green jobs for people.

The Scottish Government by contrast has set its face against science and economic opportunity across Scotland, with its dogmatic anti-nuclear stance. Unless this delusion is ended, huge potential for jobs and investment as part of a new green economy will be lost.

Other countries get this. France has issued permits for a fleet of new reactors worth at least €50 billion for their economy. Finland has recently opened a new nuclear power station – reducing emissions and consumer bills at a stroke – with the support of their Green Party. Canada has ordered the world’s first commercial Small Modular Reactor, and the US has identified hundreds of coal power sites to host nuclear reactors instead, cutting carbon but keeping jobs. Interest is surging in the developing world too: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia, and a dozen others want to start nuclear power programmes.

Fact informs this international consensus. The world cannot produce 10 times as much clean energy without nuclear, the most powerful and reliable form of electricity generation on Earth, that uses the least carbon, the least mining and the least land. For net zero with economic prosperity, nuclear is the most jobs-rich form of clean power generation there is.

The facts in Scotland confirm this reality. Southern Scotland uses five times as much power as northern Scotland, but it is still cleaner because it has nuclear as well as wind. Torness Nuclear Power Station in East Lothian can power every home in Scotland whatever the weather from just one-tenth of a square mile. The Scottish nuclear industry overall provides 3,700 jobs, which contributes £400 million to the Scottish economy, more than £100,000 per worker. Half of them are in the most deprived local authorities.

These jobs, however, will fade eventually as the generating stations retire and defuel. The Scottish Government’s ban on new projects means ambitious young people working in nuclear in Scotland will have to move away or abandon their careers.

There is a better choice: Hinkley Point C in Somerset has more than 3,000 local people working on site. There are 23,000 nuclear jobs in the south west, which has already received £5.3 billion in investment. Why can’t the people of East Lothian and North Ayrshire, Caithness and Dumfries have that as well? Why can’t the factories in Glasgow get those orders as well as the ones in Teesside and Lancashire?

Only Germany has attempted the Scottish Government’s prescription of decarbonisation without nuclear, and they burn more coal than anybody else in Europe. Having a rational, informed and science-led approach is essential to secure a clean and reliable power mix for Scotland’s future. It’s high time the Scottish Government lived up to their rhetoric and got serious.

Tom Greatrex is Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association