Scottish Nuclear Power Plants With Life Extensions Agreed By SNP Government Have Capacity To Meet Nearly 50% Of Scotland’s Electricity Demand
There does need to be some clarity as to what will happen to Scottish nuclear waste and the huge implications the answer has for Scotland says GMB.
GMB, the union for energy workers, commented on the message to all EDF Energy employees on the Scottish Referendum from Vincent de Rivaz, Chief Executive Officer sent yesterday afternoon (15th September). See notes to editors for copy of the email.
Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for Energy and Utilities, said “Alex Salmond has waxed lyrical about Scotland being the Saudi Arabia of renewables and being anti- nuclear.
The truth is that whilst banging on about renewables and being anti- nuclear the SNP Government has been agreeing life time extensions for nuclear plants. This is because Scotland needs nuclear. Power from the two Scottish nuclear power stations can meet nearly 50% of Scotland’s electricity demand. Alex Salmond hasn't been candid about this fact.
He also isn't being honest about nuclear liabilities and the costs associated with managing decommissioning and waste. What is the long term plan for storing the waste from Dounreay and from the two operating nuclear power stations? There does need to be some clarity as to what will happen to Scottish nuclear waste and the huge implications the answer has for Scotland
We have also long argued that Scotland s energy reserves and resources are owned by organizations based outside these shores. The two nuclear power stations are owned by a French state company and other parts of Scotland’s energy infrastructure have overseas owners. Most of the oil and gas is owned by US and multinationals from other nations. When it comes to energy we live in an inter-dependent world.”
Contact: Gary Smith 07710 618 909 or Harry Donaldson GMB Scotland 07885 456726 or Richard Leonard GMB Scotland 07703456447 or GMB press office 07974 251 823 or 07921 289880
Notes to Editors:
Copy of EDF Energy email.
From: "EDF Energy Employee Communication and Engagement" 15 September 2014 16:56:14 BST To: "All EDF Energy Employees"
Subject: Scotland Referendum - Message from Vincent de Rivaz
This message has been sent to All EDF Energy employees
On Thursday a momentous decision will be taken when voters in Scotland decide whether it should remain part of the UK or become independent. Our thoughts are with those of our employees who have the enormous responsibility to make their choice in a vote which will determine the future. I am sure they will do it carefully.
Whatever the outcome it will affect EDF Energy and its employees.
That is why it is my duty to ensure that all our employees who will vote get the information they need from their company about the potential impact on EDF Energy of the possible outcomes, so that they can make an informed choice in this respect – whilst I am very conscious that many other factors will come into play in their individual choice.
As I said when I visited our main Scottish sites at the end of May, Scotland matters to EDF Energy and EDF Energy matters to Scotland. Our Hunterston and Torness nuclear power stations account for a third of Scotland’s total electricity generation capacity, meeting 46% of Scotland’s electricity demand. These stations will, of course, remain in Scotland whatever the outcome. They will not move south. It means that however the context changes, we will be part of it.
From the outset I have said that it is not my place to tell voters how they should vote. But we are not policy neutral and it is my responsibility to defend the interests of our company.
So throughout the months leading to this historic moment we have been proactive and constructive in allowing policy makers from all sides to identify and understand the important questions affecting our industry, our company and our people.
Firstly, there is the very important question of the role of our nuclear assets in the future energy mix in Scotland. I believe they are assets for Scotland.
I have kept you closely informed of my discussions about them with the First Minister Alex Salmond. I met him twice in the last four months. You will have seen that I have secured assurances from him on the future operation of Hunterston and Torness.
The other key parts of the discussions with him were those questions I raised back in May when I visited our sites in Scotland and discussed with our employees:
What will be the arrangements for regulation, relating to both nuclear and energy, in the event of an independent Scotland?
What arrangements will there be for long-term liabilities, such as paying for the decommissioning and liability management costs of our nuclear power stations at Torness and Hunterston, currently the responsibility of the Nuclear Liability Fund?
Will there continue to be a single GB Electricity Trading and Transmission system (BETTA) in the event of Scottish Independence?
What will be the impact of fiscal policies, such as those relating to pensions, taxes, and currency in the event of an independent Scotland?
And how will this affect our people?
As you know, throughout the last months our policy positions have been available on our intranet pages.
I have discussed the same points with the leaders of the Better Together campaign, notably Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown, and the UK Government, in particular Secretary of State Alistair Carmichael.
What is clear is that, beyond the primary reassurance about the ongoing operation of nuclear, the answers to these questions remain uncertain, depending on the outcome of the vote and any negotiations that may follow.
All of these areas are relevant to EDF Energy and our people. Therefore in having discussions with all the leaders of the referendum campaign we have strongly advocated the EDF Energy position on each. We will continue to do so.
I am not complacent about these uncertainties and we will be ready from the day after the vote to be fully engaged in a constructive way to tackle all of them in the interests of our business, our customers and our people.
We know that whatever the result of the vote on Thursday there will be change. It will not be only an ending, but also the beginning of a new context in which any organisation which operates both in Scotland and in England and Wales will need to adjust.
Whatever the outcome we will face this new context as we always do; As one united company. United by our common identity and our shared mission and values. Even if the country should split, it is in the interests of EDF Energy and its people that the company does not. That it remains united. The people in East Kilbride are a perfect example of the One Company approach which will continue to be my mantra: They are based in Scotland but they work for all parts of the company wherever it is located.
Therefore, I will do my utmost to ensure that EDF Energy remains a single, strong company which is well equipped to address the new challenges we will face whatever the outcome.
In conclusion, I want to recognise the mature and calm way in which all of you in the company - employees, senior leadership team, trade unions – have conducted yourselves throughout the events of this historical and emotional campaign.
I thank those who have engaged, including those who have taken the time to view our ‘Scotland’s Future’ intranet page and join in the online discussion. Your input has been very useful to me. Since June the forum has been viewed nearly 9,000 times by employees. The conversation covered nuclear regulation, corporation tax, pensions, currency and more. We did not duck the issue of Scottish independence. On the contrary, it was on the front page and the main feature of our internal magazine Connect, published over the summer. I am delighted you have been pleased by the open approach we have taken.
It is a great source of pride for me to see the thoughtful way in which you have contributed to the debate. That internal conversation did not alter the unity of the company nor the feel better spirit that joins us all together.
Thursday’s vote is a matter for the voters. We have been clear about the issues at stake for our company. They are important to us all and together we will tackle them.
Over the coming days my thoughts will be with those who have the very significant responsibility to vote on this momentous occasion.
Vincent de Rivaz CBE
Chief Executive Officer