No nuclear power station in the world has been built without public subsidy
Taxpayers could bankroll nuclear clear-up under new Government plans
9th December, 2010
Campaign groups say UK officials are underestimating the costs of disposing of nuclear waste and that the taxpayer will end up footing the bill
Government claims that taxpayers will not have to pay for cleaning up the radioactive legacy of a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK have been rubbished by campaigners.
Under proposals published this week, nuclear firms will be required by law to put money aside to pay for eventual decommissioning and waste disposal costs. This includes the suggestion for a fixed cost, at three times the current estimates, for dealing with nuclear waste produced by the new power stations.
Energy secretary Charles Hendry said the fixed cost proposals would ensure there was ‘no hidden subsidy and that the taxpayer is protected from costs that are rightly the responsibility of the operator’.
However, environment groups say the proposals are unrealistic about the likely costs of nuclear power. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) said Governments had been giving assurances about the cost effectiveness of nuclear power for more than half a century, yet none had ever been run without public subsidies.
‘Given that the UK has been proposing a geological waste repository since the 1970s it is a long way from certain that the final costs of disposal won’t exceed the ‘three times current cost estimates’ that the power companies’ liabilities will be capped at,’ said CND general secretary Kate Hudson.
She added that government plans to charge an additional ‘risk fee’ to compensate the taxpayer for the risk of setting a fixed, capped price would still not be enough to cover the ultimate costs of nuclear.
Both CND and Greenpeace said the UK should be focusing any public incentives to the renewable sector to help the UK meet its goal of 15 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.
‘Rather than using public money to support a mature technology like nuclear, it should be providing the incentives to maximise the UK’s clean energy industry in order to make deep cuts in our carbon emissions and generate a green economic recovery,’ said Greenpeace nuclear campaigner Ben Ayliffe.
Nuclear power debate still divides UK public opinion
The majority of the public feels the risks of nuclear power outweigh the benefits and would prefer to see more investment into renewable energy, a new poll shows
EU nuclear waste disposal plans 'not safe' claim scientists
Experts warn EU proposals for deep geological disposal of radioactive waste have ‘serious potential for something to go badly wrong’
Exclusive interview Mark Lynas: 'More than half of greens agree with me on GM & nuclear'
Mark Lynas, featured in Channel 4's recent and highly controversial documentary, 'What the green movement got wrong', tells Matilda Lee why he is not the pariah of the eco movement
Shocking legacy of 'uranium poisonings' haunts Obama's looming mining decision
Despite disturbing claims about the impact of uranium, ten-thousand proposals for exploration in the Grand Canyon area have been submitted. A key fuel for nuclear power, the US must now decide between full scale uranium mining, partial mining or a twenty year moratorium.
Rejected nuclear waste site in Cumbria back on list of potential locations
Campaigners and scientists express concern over the inclusion of a site near Sellafield in latest list of locations considered for deep underground disposal of nuclear waste
Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.