Campaigners have accused North Ayrshire Council of making a ‘one-sided presentation’ regarding plans to build a prototype nuclear fusion plant in Ardeer.
The local authority is one of three partner organisations, alongside the University of Glasgow and NPL Group, who are seeking to bring the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production plant to the area.
But the Ayrshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament this week hit out at what they claim is ‘a lack of transparency’ surrounding the proposal.
The group say they have been surprised at the absence of an accessible way to ask questions and express concerns.
They claim the council set up a one-click process to state their support but made no provision for people to list concerns.
And the group say that many locals had no idea that there was a proposal for a nuclear fusion reactor on their doorstep until they heard opposition to it.
Ayrshire CND spokesman Arthur West said: “After years of worry about cracks in the nuclear reactors at Hunterston, it is very disappointing that North Ayrshire Council are supporting the development of another nuclear facility at Ardeer.”
“‘The respected Nuclear Free Local Authorities organization which includes Scottish Councils such as Glasgow , Edinburgh , Dundee and East Ayrshire are opposed to nuclear fusion, labeling it a distraction from the need to continue developing renewable energy sources.”
North Ayrshire Council this week defended their stance, pointing out that the consultation process is being handled by the UK Atomic Energy Authority.
A spokesperson said: “We believe that Ardeer offers a unique location, can support our commitment to tackle the climate emergency by providing low carbon energy, create thousands of high-quality jobs and act as an economic catalyst for this part of Scotland.
“A set of frequently-asked questions has been prepared to provide facts and information on the proposal and is available for all to see at https://www.thisisnorthayrshire.co.uk/invest/step-spherical-tokamak-for-energy -production/step-ardeer-faqs/.
“The consultation is being undertaken by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) who are currently considering five locations from across the UK.
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“It is the UKAEA who will consider all the responses received and they have already heard a wide range of views during their recent visit to North Ayrshire as part of their deliberations.
“We are absolutely committed to ensuring everyone’s voice is heard and there will be further chances for people to understand and have their say on proposals well in advance of any plans being finalised.
“The UKAEA will consult informally and formally throughout the process and we would encourage everyone – whether they support or oppose the proposals – to get involved.
“The UKAEA also has an online feedback form which allows people to express their views and this is available at https://bit.ly/3Janr3O. This is also available in paper format at Ardeer Community Center and Stevenston Library.”
An online petition to give those who have an alternative viewpoint a voice can be found here.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.