A FRESH call has been made for a new state-of-the-art 'mini' nuclear reactor to be brought to Hunterston as the plant moves towards closure in three months time.

Huntertson B will be powered down for the final time in January after 46 years - sparking a local councillor to ask for a new modular nuclear reactor to be considered for the site.

Conservative councillor Tom Marshall says the option must be considered amid speculation the UK Government is investigating ‘mini’ reactors being established across the UK.

We reported last year that the a motion had been put forward by North Ayrshire Conservatives supporting calls for one of the revolutionary plants to be situated at Hunterston.

As it stands, the Scottish Government does not support new nuclear but reports this week suggest UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is “poised” to hand funding to Rolls-Royce to install at least 16 ‘mini reactor’ plants – which could potentially create 40,000 jobs by 2050.

Cllr Tom Marshall would like to see Hunterston considered to combat looming job loss and unemployment fears for the area.

He said: "We have debated it a number of times at the council. A solely green policy would take us back to the dark ages as when the wind doesn't blow there is no source of power. We would be back to candles and paraffin lamps.

"We need nuclear power stations. If you look at the national grid output during the past month the weather has been good with relatively little wind.

"The prime example is what has happened in Germany where they have shut down nuclear power stations and they are now starting to fire up coal stations again.

"The answer is to follow what France have done. They have 70 per cent of their power from nuclear generation to get a safe and stable supply - and Hunterston could play a key role in that.

"The SNP and the Greens need to get into the modern world - we require a constant source of power and energy. A 50MW reactor at Hunterston would be perfect - and we have the skills there just now to make it happen."

The Scottish Greens have criticised the proposal.

Their environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: "Nuclear power is neither safe nor reliable. The last thing we need is a backwards step towards the nuclear industry, which would cost hundreds of millions of pounds while leaving a toxic legacy for centuries.

"We need to chart a different course and invest in communities like Largs with lasting jobs and industries that have a future."

In their last energy policy, the Scottish Government moved against new power stations being constructed “under current technologies”.

However, the document adds that SNP ministers “are aware of increasing interest in the development of new nuclear technologies, such as small modular reactors”.