Scottish nuclear power stations generate £1 billion in economic benefit 

Torness nuclear plant
Torness nuclear plant

The nuclear energy in Scotland contributed £1 billion to GDP in 2016 through its operating power stations and supply chain companies.

A new study compiled by Oxford Economics on behalf of the Nuclear Industry Association, also shows that while some 4,000 people are directly employed by the sector, more than 12,000 jobs are supported by the sector when its impact on the associated industries it buys goods and services from is considered. 

Each nuclear sector employee contributes an average of £96,600 in gross value added (GVA) to the economy, 73% higher than the UK average, reflecting the highly-skilled nature of the workforce and the use of advanced technologies. 

The Torness nuclear power station in East Lothian achieved the highest output of all the British nuclear power stations (which are owned by French state-owned EDF) in the year and avoided 3.5 MtCO2; combined with the emissions avoided by Hunterston.

This is the equivalent to taking 2.7 million cars of Scottish roads – almost every vehicle registered with a Scottish number plate.

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, commented: “For the first time we have comprehensive data which shows the important role the civil nuclear sector plays in generating highly skilled and well paid jobs, making a significant contribution to the economy and supplying low carbon electricity to both keep the lights on and avert damaging carbon emissions.

“But, with both Hunterston and Torness due to close in the period up to 2030, not only will this economic benefit will be lost, but the progress made on reducing emissions – which in 2016 was the equivalent of taking almost all the cars off roads in Scotland – will be lost.” 

5 Dec 2017


The civil nuclear electricity generating industry in Scotland is under the same kind of ‘ planning moratorium’ that the SNP-led minority Scottish Government has imposed to prevent any new-build nuclear and new onshore oil and gas exploration in Scotland.

If the lights ever begin to go off as Torness and Hunterston reach the end of their working lives – and in a future deep mid-winter when the Sun doesn’t shine, the wind doesn’t blow – and the EU refuse to export more interconnector power in a post Brexit nightmare –  both civil nuclear – and fracking – may well benefit from a change of Scot-Govt policy on practical (and scientific) grounds, rather than political dogma…

See alsoFracking in Scotland

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