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Scotland goes from nuclear to wind and waves via DW

The sparsely populated region of Caithness in northern Scotland once relied heavily on the development of nuclear energy for electric power and for job creation. Now wind and wave energy are set to take over.

A ferry has docked at the pier in Scrabster, the northernmost harbour on the British mainland. It takes just 90 minutes to get from here to the Scottish archipelago of Orkney when the weather is good. The sea in between is called the Pentland Firth, one of the world’s wildest stretches of water. It’s known for its high winds and strong currents. But, it is these elements that could secure the future of the region, in the form of renewable energy.

Thirteen kilometers (eight miles) along the coast, a white dome rises up behind a high-security fence. Dounreay, more than 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of London, was chosen as the site for a nuclear facility back in 1955. While protesters in the cities warned of the risks, a lot of people up here were grateful for thousands of new jobs and the investment that came with the project. Fishermen sold their boats and took jobs at the new plant.

No more nuclear

Now the whole region here, Caithness, is about to enter a new era. Dounreay is to be completely decommissioned by 2023. More than 2,000 jobs will be lost. This, in an area with a population of just 26,000. “One job in three is dependent on Dounreay in one way or another”, says Trudy Morris, Chief executive of the Caithness Chamber of Commerce.

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  1. Lulama says

    I think it’s great. A big reason it’s so enpsxeive right now is due to a lack of significant subsidies, as well as ridiculously long gov. permit application times/fees. The gov. should start building up Yucca Mountain again to store the waste and then start building these plants to cover our current and future needs. The U.S. is only going to need more electricity especially 15-20 yrs. from now when the vast majority of vehicles will be electric based.To the comment about the amount of resources required to make the plants themselves; I hope you understand how energy intensive and material intensive solar and wind options are.



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