A NEW report says the nuclear power industry contributed £1 billion to Scotland’s economy last year and supports more than 12,000 jobs.

Research by experts at Oxford Economics, carried out for the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), examined the contribution the country’s two nuclear power stations and that of other companies involved in supplying them.

They found that more than 4000 people are directly employed in the sector. Supply firms took the total to more than 12,000.

Scotland has two nuclear power stations in operation – Hunterston B in North Ayrshire and Torness in East Lothian – but companies here are also involved in supplying the new Hinkley Point C project and in decommissioning work at Dounreay in the Highlands. About one-fifth (21 per cent) of the UK’s electricity came from nuclear power in 2016, making it the second-largest single source of energy behind gas.

Torness alone produced enough electricity for 2.5 million homes, the largest output of any nuclear power station in the UK. NIA says the energy generated at Torness and Hunterston B produced carbon savings equivalent to taking almost all the cars in Scotland off the road.

NIA chief executive Tom Greatrex said: “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 that averts damaging carbon emissions.