The announcement today of the new-build financial deal cobbled together by Government and which guarantees foreign companies a price for electricity that is not only double today’s market price but one that will be guaranteed for up to 40 years, can best be assessed via US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s conundrum on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – ‘there are some things we know, some things we don’t know …’
For Ministers behind today’s deal simply do not know what the true market price of electricity will be in the 2050’s, where the spiralling cost and build time of any new reactor will end up, where existing wastes or future nuclear wastes from new-build will be dumped, what the consequences for human health will be or the extent of cyber security risks posed by foreign investment in the UK’s sensitive energy system.
What we do know is that, contrary to its assurances of no subsidies for new build, the Government is underwriting £Billions on a mature technology that shouldn’t need hand-outs and is neither green nor sustainable. We also know from bitter and recent experience that the ever-suffering UK taxpayer will end up picking up the tab for the inevitable failures that are the hallmark of the nuclear industry wherever it spreads its radioactive footprint and that, if ever built, nuclear power stations can do absolutely nothing to bridge the projected energy gap, do precious little to mitigate carbon emissions, and will see the cream of the high-tech engineering jobs go to the French.
CORE’s spokesman Martin Forwood said today:
The Government’s fetish for nuclear power, which has seen Ministers scraping the world’s barrel for investors to support its craving, is only matched by its determination to see the industry’s nuclear wastes dumped in suspect geology in Cumbria. With so many uncertainties, and given the clean and safe renewable alternatives, new build in the UK is a retrograde step that will blight the Country and its future generations for decades to come. Fortunately it is not as yet a done deal, and must now face the major challenge of a European Commission investigation under EU state-aid laws into the significant subsidies being handed to the French and Chinese state-owned companies by Government.”
Note for Editors: At the last count, the costs of the French EPR reactor (destined for Hinkley Point) being built in Finland have risen from 3 to 8 billion Euros and the station under construction in France rising from 4 to 11 billion Euros. The former is expected to be completed some 7 years late and the latter already running 2 years behind schedule.