28 Jan 2011

Nuclear subsidy U-turn by Condems

Here is my letter to The Citizen/Stroud Life yesterday:

Photo: View from Randwick with new nuclear power station added at Oldbury

The Tory and Lib Dem U-turning on their commitment to “no subsidy for nuclear” is another betrayal of our democracy. Even The Daily Telegraph acknowledge the latest measures that include fixing prices, will be a subsidy to nuclear (i). Just like the banks, this is an example of socialising the risks and privatising the profits.

Among the other 'hidden' subsidies are the billions to Nuclear Decommissioning and of course, the cost of decommissioning falls to the government, if a company fails. Nuclear wont pay all the costs of insuring against claims from a Chernobyl-style disaster and protection against terrorism. Indeed it seems the government are so keen to encourage nuclear that they will also cap the cost of radioactive waste disposal for more than 100 years! If the price is too low it means more taxes but it can't be set too high otherwise nuclear wont invest. Heads they win, tails the public loses.

Two government departments show the cost of electricity from nuclear is higher than from renewables. Worryingly reliance on nuclear undermines the potential to shift to renewables, since it is likely to be the main beneficiary of the proposed carbon floor price. Nuclear is not low carbon - from uranium mining through to nuclear waste management, the nuclear fuel cycle is responsible for significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. A windfall tax on nuclear, like that levied in Germany, would go some way to correcting this.

So no subsidy actually means almost limitless subsidy. Nuclear companies said that they can’t build nuclear power stations without additional financial incentives, now it seems they are to get that support. Oldbury, 16 miles from Stroud, is still on the list of new reactors (ii). Renewables with serious demand reduction and energy efficiency measures are the safe, clean, economic and fair way to tackle our energy needs. We do not need more nuclear dinosaurs.

Cllr Philip Booth, Stroud District councillor for Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe ward (Green party),


(i) See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/8204683/UK-government-agrees-to-subsidise-nuclear-power-companies-prices.html

(ii) See proposed views: http://www.shepperdineagainstnuclearenergy.org.uk/views

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