Corruption in Government - No Taxpayer Bailout for new Nukes!

by SWAN
on Friday 11 May 2012

type: Press Release
topic: Protests
region: South West

Environmental campaigners are today protesting outside Centrica's AGM in Westminster in response to rapidly changing situation with the financing of new nuclear build.

At the end of January a report was published entitled "A corruption in Governance" This report showed what many already knew to be true - namely that the government department D.E.C.C have been colluding with energy companies and very specifically the nuclear lobby to mis-sell and mislead members of Parliament and the Public about the need for nuclear power. [1]

Meanwhile as the situation in the spent fuel pools at Fukushima Daaichi deteriorates [2] pushing up the costs of the EPR reactors being proposed by EDF & Centrica[3] Despite this Centrica are still insisting on pressuring the UK government for a bailout before construction has even begun!

If we take EDF's current estimate of construction costs for one EPR of £7 billion pounds and multiply that by the ten planned reactors that the government want that would be £70 billion in construction costs alone (that's without time & cost overruns which are inevitable with nuclear).

There is a letter of complaint into the European Commission from Energy Fair about the subsidies that have already been offered to the nuclear industry from the public purse[4] these include fixed price on tonne of carbon, a fixed price per unit of electricity Citibank has estimated that the proposed new FiT CfD subsidy is likely to be worth 11.5 pence / kWh (€0.143 / kWh). [5] not to mention insurance liability, German calculations show that if nuclear sites were properly insured it would cost €0.14 / kWh to price and perhaps as much as €2.36[6] Of course, this is academic as nuclear is so risky that there is not an insurance company anywhere in the world that would take that risk. According to DECC's figures Dr Gerry Wolff says that “the retail price of electricity is €0.171 / kWh, the size of the subsidy would be, at an absolute minimum, nearly double the retail price of electricity. In short, it would be much cheaper for the government to buy electricity on the open market and give it away!”

It is entirely possible that a taxpayer bailout for new nukes could cost eventually cost the UK taxpayer far in excess of the cost of the bank bail-out that was given a few years ago, as the one thing we know is that nuclear waste management decommissioning and disposal costs will only rise. What will be the total cost to future generations of taxpayers?

Said campaigner Nikki Clark “A tax-payer bailout for new nukes would be obscene, the situation in Fukushima is far from under control or over and so the human and economic costs are still as yet unknown. The only thing I can compare this to, is being like the banks asking for a bailout before they made their dodgy investments. We can only guess at the future costs to future generations, it is highly likely that these costs won't just be economic”

Historically, it has already been the case that legacy waste costs alone have always been chronically undersestimated, the change from NIREX to the NDA saw legacy waste costs triple.

The costs of nuclear are only set to rise, already half of the DECC current budget is spent on managing legacy waste and it is set to rise again to 2/3 of the DECC budget next year, [7] how much will it be over the coming decades? We are saddling future generations with an environmental and economic burden that very well may not be able to shoulder.

 

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Notes to editors

[1]The Nuclear Lobby and the previous government began their efforts to put new nuclear  on the agenda in 2006. See here  http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/commentanalysis/corporatewatch/nuclearindustry.aspx  and there is a case study in this report (pg 49) about the energy review and what happened - quite shocking really http://www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk/getattachment/adfc0bef-d07d-4dd7-a74d-01b53fd2fcdd/Power-Moves--Exploring-Power-and-Influence-in-the-.aspx

Right now D.E.C.C. is in a state of disarray over this report, (the penny is dropping as they know they have been rumbled...)

[2] Japanese ambassadors as well as spent fuel experts and U.S Senators are now requesting international assistance to deal with the fuel pools http://akiomatsumura.com/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-alvarez/the-fukushima-nuclear-dis_b_1444146.html http://akiomatsumura.com/2012/04/u-s-senator-ron-wydens-concerns-over-reactor-4.html

[3] http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/05/08/uk-nuclear-britain-edf-idUKBRE8470XC20120508

[4] http://www.energyfair.org.uk/actions

[5] http://www.mng.org.uk/gh/private/nuclear_subsidies1.pdf

 

[6] http://www.mng.org.uk/gh/private/nuclear_subsidies1.pdf and http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,14917361,00.html

 

[7] http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/ch_sp_royal/ch_sp_royal.aspx