Nuclear Waste (Submarines)
17 May 2005
Mr Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green): To ask the Scottish Executive what its approach is to the disposal of nuclear waste from redundant nuclear submarines. (S2O-6633)
The Minister for Environment and Rural Development (Ross Finnie): We welcome the Ministry of Defence's decision not to progress options for storage or disposal of radioactive waste from redundant submarines until after the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management has reported.
Mr Ruskell: Surely the best way to end the legacy of redundant nuclear submarines at Rosyth is to stop ordering new nuclear weapons, which is what we are meant to do under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Why is no Executive representative at the treaty talks in New York? Ken Livingstone is there to represent Londoners and Green MSP Chris Ballance is there to represent the 85 per cent of Scots who are against nuclear weapons. Why is Jack McConnell, the former Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament activist, not there to represent Scotland?
Ross Finnie: Having heard who is at those talks, I well understand why Jack McConnell has chosen to devote his energies to supporting his party in the general election.
On the member's question, what he suggested would no doubt be the proper course of action, but he asked about the powers of the Scottish Executive and I carefully pointed out to him that the Scottish Executive is closely watching what the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management is doing. Once the Scottish Executive receives that committee's report, we will decide what we will do within our powers to treat that radioactive waste.
Richard Lochhead (North East Scotland) (SNP): Does the Minister for Environment and Rural Development believe that the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive should be consulted in any way by the United Kingdom Government on whether the son of Trident should be based on the Clyde?
Ross Finnie: I appreciate that the member does not want Scotland to be part of the United Kingdom and that he wishes to close such naval bases-perhaps the SNP wishes to build its own naval bases. On the question that we are considering about the Scottish Parliament's powers, it is much more important to say that we must be consulted on regulation of radioactive waste under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993, and to say that any planning matter relating to disposal of radioactive waste is, of course, a matter for the Scottish Parliament.