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By G.A.Ponsonby
 
The SNP has seized on a leaked document that reveals UK Ministers are secretly planning to subsidise nuclear power plants.
 
SNP MP Mike Weir says the UK Government’s energy policy is now in tatters after the document revealed plans to subsidise nuclear energy generation through household electricity bills.

The document, which was submitted to the European Commission and has been verified as genuine, reveals plans to classify nuclear as “low carbon power” to allow the industry to receive public cash.

According to the Guardian newspaper, a separate report by Scottish & Southern Energy claims that such subsidies could “mess up” funding for renewables by causing “massive uncertainty”.

The SSE report stated: "We are concerned because if a nuclear subsidy messes up renewable support [there will be] massive uncertainty in our core market."

A spokesman for SSE said: "It is unclear what subsidy is required to make investment in new nuclear work. What the UK needs is an honest debate about the level of subsidy required, the mechanism for providing it, and why consumers should pay for it. If we decide that nuclear does need a subsidy it must be transparent how this is being provided and not be done in a way that damages investment in essential new renewable generation."

According to the Guardian, an industry senior figure in the renewables industry said that EU haggling over the state aid rules for nuclear would spell delays to the market reforms, and therefore create confusion for investors in the renewables industry.

Following the news, Centrica, the only UK company in the running to build a new generation of nuclear plants, has threatened to pull out.

Mr Weir, SNP Westminster Energy and Climate Challenge spokesman, said:

“The UK Government’s nuclear policy is in tatters, with leaked documents revealing electricity customers will foot the bill for nuclear power despite previous promises this would not happen.

“Not only does this show the Tory-Lib Dem coalition cannot be trusted on energy policy, it is also highly embarrassing for the Lib Dems who fought the general election firmly opposed to the expansion of nuclear power.

“Centrica, the only UK company in the running to help build new nuclear plants, is now threatening to pull the plug. This is simply a disaster for David Cameron.

“Nuclear power is simply not the answer to our energy needs. While Centrica threatens to pull out, Scotland’s approach continues to win investment and create thousands of jobs.

“Renewable energy is the way forward to provide a clean green future and true energy security.

“The SNP Government has firmly rejected nuclear and instead has set a 100 per cent renewable target for Scotland's own electricity use by 2020.

“The Tory-Lib Dem coalition must abandon its pursuit of an expensive, unsustainable and shambolic nuclear policy.

“Instead it should follow the lead of the Scottish Government transferring to a low carbon economy, which will benefit the environment, create jobs and lower household bills.”

The news will cause embarrassment to the UK coalition’s Lib Dem partners.  In the 2010 general election campaign, party leader Nick Clegg pledged to fight any expansion of nuclear power.

Fiona Hall, leader of the Lib Dem group in the European Parliament said most industry people believed it was a subsidy.  Ms Hall has written on the Lib Dem Voice website calling on all Lib Dem supporters to speak out against nuclear subsidies.

Comments  

 
# RaboRuglen 2012-04-21 15:30
Hi there,

Is this a surprise? It has been obvious for some time that nuclear is the preferred option of the Westminster government of both hues. This now has the obvious advantage of potentially scuppering the growth of Scottish renewables and retaining all those jobs south of the border.

And the waste? Oh we'll get to keep that and be expected to be grateful.

VOTE YES in 2014.

Regards,
 
 
# scotsgal 2012-04-21 15:32
And where will the money for these subsidies come from I thought that the UK was broke. Will Scotland see a proportional amount paid towards her budget? or is that a silly question.
 
 
# proudscot 2012-04-22 10:50
Quoting scotsgal:
And where will the money for these subsidies come from I thought that the UK was broke. Will Scotland see a proportional amount paid towards her budget? or is that a silly question.


Aye scotsgal, the UK is so broke it has just "lent" the IMF 10 billion pounds. This is the same Westminster government that cut the Holyrood pocket money by 3 billion due to the austerity measures required by the recession! God alone knows what the final bill will be of the London Olympics and the Royal Jubilee celebrations. All just injury to add to the insults of the 10% tax cut for the super rich, the granny tax and the latest wheeze of the pasty tax. So this latest secret subsidy for the Tories' pals in the nuclear industry doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Roll on independence!
 
 
# Alan 2012-04-21 15:36
It has been known since last week that France, the UK, Poland and the Czech Republic have tabled a joint initiative to 'reclassify' nuclear power at EU level with a view to allowing direct state aid for the industry. theparliament.com/.../...
Since Germany has decided to go non-nuclear they are not impressed and are instead interested in developing renewables. Including cables connecting North Sea wind energy from Scotland to Germany and elsewhere to enable them to meet domestic electricity demand. handelsblatt.com/.../...
 
 
# xyz 2012-04-21 15:56
It is low carbon isn't it? .. slightly dangerous, but the main thing that needs to be clarified is the cost and who will be paying for it. Typical of Westminster to lay a financial disaster for a future generation.
 
 
# Triangular Ears 2012-04-21 16:29
Nuclear is not as low carbon as its proponents would have you believe. Mining and production of the fuel produces quite a lot of carbon, and this is likely to just get worse as uranium itself becomes more scarce.

As with everything in the nuclear industry, we can be sure that we are not being told the whole truth.

Nuclear has always been massively and opaquely subsidised. It was pursued with great enthusiasm for material for the bomb, and dressed up as providing us with cheap (unmeterable?) energy.

I wouldn't trust a word the nuclear lobby come out with.
 
 
# cynicalHighlander 2012-04-21 20:14
9 mins in.: www.youtube.com/.../ worth watching all 9 pts to understand UK psyche on nuclear energy.
 
 
# flying haggis 2012-04-21 16:38
The generation part of the nuclear cycle is low carbon. However, mining the ore and extracting Uranium to make 'yellocake' is very energy intensive (and also creates huge amounts of toxic and radioactive pollution). Then after fuel rods have been used there is decomissioning and the specialised waste handling and storage requirements.
Overall, in terms of CO2 production, the nuclear station cycle is almost the same as a comparable coal station cycle.
 
 
# Soloman 2012-04-21 16:08
Scotsgal
"I thought the UK wase broke"

You must be mistaken Scotsgal, have you not heard that George Osborne has just leant the IMF £10bn!?

Oh aye, cuts of every sort=smokiing mirrors...
 
 
# J Wil 2012-04-21 20:53
The SG's shovel ready projects are small beer compared to this loan to the IMF.
 
 
# velofello 2012-04-21 16:11
We have the article here on Newsnet re the PFI contract foisted on Lothians NHI. Here we have the Westminster PPP contract- Power Panic Policy.
Last week it was thermal energy from Iceland, before that fracking, and now rule-bending on nuclear. I suppose, as per the minds of religious zealots in past centuries that fire is a cleansing agent, so too is the nuclear fire in Japan burning itself into Mother earth a cleansing agent .Oh and there is power from wind farms in the Irish Republic.
What England cannot contemplate is an independent Scotland as her energy supplier. Its fine just now when Westminster can load the scales against Scotland via unfair nat'l grid charging but an independent Scotland would be in a normal supplier/customer situation over energy supplies.
Perfidity, perfidity, its all England has, perfidity.
 
 
# SmartJellyfish 2012-04-21 16:39
Exactly. They'll be damned if they'll ask us for water (for free) so they'll definitely not entertain the very idea of buying their leckie from us.
 
 
# ButeHouse 2012-04-21 22:29
Quoting velofello:
Its fine just now when Westminster can load the scales against Scotland via unfair nat'l grid charging


In the late 60's England discovered Natural Gas off her North East coast. At that point the Scottish and English Gas boards were separate companies, but despite Scotland and England being ONE country the English sold their gas to Scotland at the HIGHEST cross border price in Europe.

However - when Gas in massive quantities was discovered of the North East coast of Scotland and it became cheaper to pipe it down south............ rather than pay the Scots anything, the goal posts were moved and British Gas was born, so no need for anybody to charge anyone anything.

What a wheeze! England gets the Gas for nothing, as it does with the Oil. I say chaps, what fun.

Oil came along when the UK was on its knees - 3 day week, rubbish and bodies piling up because of strikes, candles when the lights went out - remember?

Scottish Oil and Gas revenues pulled England out of the mire then and she has been taking cash hand over fist from the Scottish economy ever since whilst LYING about how much the Oil and Gas was worth.

Independence anyone?

VOTE YES in 2014
 
 
# red kite 2012-04-21 16:33
I remember, years & years ago, that nuclear energy was touted in the papers to be so cheap that it would cost us nothing.
Probably around the early 60's.

Politicians in Westminster and industry leaders must have known the truth. So there's another great lie - another for the list.
 
 
# J Wil 2012-04-21 21:07
Years ago the nuclear industry was given the job of assessing the UK's future power requirements looking at all forms of energy generation. They were found to have cooked the books by boosting the Nuclear industry to the detriment of other forms of energy supply. So the sickness is long term.
 
 
# jjmac 2012-04-21 17:49
Now that fracking is on the agenda again i hope they don't try it too close to one of their nuclear power stations or do i just worry too much????
 
 
# Hing em high 2012-04-21 17:51
There is no great surprise here. The original Nuclear programme was heavily subsidised in one form or another, either directly through govt subsidy that was hidden or in the price of electricity bills.

If left purely to market forces then nobody on the planet would build a Nuclear Power Station because decommissioning cost alone are astronomical. The building of them always ran way over budget and most of them never worked as intended and thus adding to astronical maitenance costs.

Would you trust the Brit Nat Govts on this Industry. I know I dont. If the Japanese Nuclear accident wasnt enough to act as a warning to us all about how govts and the Nuclear Industry collude to keep people in the dark.

The Nuclear Industry operates behind a veil of secrecy and lies that even the North Koreans would marvel at!
 
 
# Sannymac 2012-04-21 18:01
Red kite: You are absolutely correct. In 1960 I was a young Engineer working at DERE for the UKAEA. Yes they lied about the cost of the power generated, but even more importantly they told major lies about the cost of running and dismantling these Nuclear Stations. They also omitted to discuss how long it would be before the land the site stood on could be used for ANY purpose. Now ask where they will store the used fuel rods and other high level contaminated materials. Of course the dangers of Nuclear station are never discussed – ask the Japanese.
 
 
# Fungus 2012-04-21 18:01
Quote:
The news will cause embarrassment to the UK coalition’s Lib Dem partners. In the 2010 general election campaign, party leader Nick Clegg pledged to fight any expansion of nuclear power.


You are kidding? The Lib Dems don't feel one iota of embarrassment, if they did they would have left to government at the time of the university fees debacle.

As to the nuclear subsidy, England does not have a great wind energy resource and many proposed developments are NIMBYed away. Thatcher shut the pits so they have no coal, they have very little oil and gas in their waters. Westminster knows that by 2016 they will not be able to loot their northern neighbours any more..so what have they left? They are just trying to secure energy independence for the future. I sincerely hope they don't have a Chernobyl or Three Mile Island.
 
 
# Lupus Incomitatus 2012-04-21 19:02
I have yet to see an authoritative business plan for a nuclear plant which calculates the cost of each KwH generated which includes the cost of decommissioning .

The figures bandied about are boLLo^s and the number of plants they want to build was conjured from thin air without any methodical rigour.
 
 
# sneckedagain 2012-04-21 19:23
They are running late on all of this anyway. It takes about ten years to design, get planning permission,buil d and get a nuclear station into operation. Who's to bet they wont be having a power use restriction just like the hose pipe bans within the next decade in England.
And, of course, the world is running out of good grade uranium anyway
 
 
# roboftheburnawn 2012-04-21 19:37
O/T - Check this out in The Huff Post.

"UK Drought: How Close Is The UK To Waterpocalypse? "

Although tongue in cheek, this is what many on this site have been stating for a long, long time.

We have the biggest assett in the UK - and plenty of it
 
 
# Macart 2012-04-21 20:36
It's not rain, it's resource. :)
 
 
# Soixante-neuf 2012-04-21 20:44
I saw that headline. "UK drought"? Is that like "UK riots"?

As far as I can see, this drought is an exclusively English phenomenon. As usual, anything negative about England, is portrayed as belonging to "the UK". One more misconception we need to counter.
 
 
# J Wil 2012-04-21 20:59
I wonder if a map of the water deprived areas of England, modified in similar vein to the Economist, 'Skintland Scotland', front page, would have raised much outrage in England?
 
 
# roboftheburnawn 2012-04-21 22:10
We could assist The Economist in their new front page

" Liverdry ", "Blackdry " and when the lights go out it will be known as "Darkon Rock "
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2012-04-21 22:25
roboftheburnawn

We could assist The Economist in their new front page

" Liverdry ", "Blackdry " and when the lights go out it will be known as "Darkon Rock "


Trouble with the above you would be wrong. Wales, the North West and of course Scotland all have plenty of water.

I am also a bit surprised you got the above past the mods.

Not many days ago one of my posts was sent to purgatory and that only contained the following:

Due to the many screw-ups coming from Westmidden, in London, perhaps it would be more aptly named - LUNUNDUN.

Wonder if it will survive this time?
 
 
# J Wil 2012-04-21 22:55
Hows about, Waste Anglia, Leaky London, Drouthy Doncaster, Cracked Cromer.
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2012-04-21 22:12
roboftheburnawn

We have the biggest assett in the UK - and plenty of it

Another Country has plenty also !

guardian.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# edinburgh quine 2012-04-21 20:26
So, let me get this right. These power companies are being given funds to build the things and then when they're done, they walk away with their profits and we foot the bill the the clean up. Am I right or am I right?

Has this government not learned anything from what happened in Japan last year? Are they totally stupid. And are energy bill payers aware of this latest ruse?
 
 
# Hing em high 2012-04-21 23:24
Aye yer right quine!
 
 
# J Wil 2012-04-21 21:01
We need to get out of this Union as soon as possible before we sink with them, but I fear it will not be soon enough.
 
 
# balbeggie 2012-04-21 21:03
o/t Front cover of tomorrow's Sunday Herald - the 2 Faces of Trump

twitpic.com/9cjh6u
 
 
# ferryman 2012-04-21 21:40
The whole concept of selling off Electricity companies to improve competition and cheaper electricity was a fools errand. The monies that the power industry used to make pre privatisation was re invested back into the company to replace worn out units. This is something that the new private companies should be forced to do before forking out dividends to shareholders.
 
 
# george davie 2012-04-21 21:57
Apparently there is demonstration planned for May against BBC bias.

Anybody have more details?
 
 
# D_A_N 2012-04-21 23:02
Saturday. May 26. 2pm

here if ur on fb www.facebook.com/.../
 
 
# george davie 2012-04-22 09:09
Thanks D_A_N! Unfortunately I'm not on Face Book.(I suspect many others on this site are in the same boat)

What about doing an article for NNS drawing attention to the event?
 
 
# sneckedagain 2012-04-21 22:27
O/T

Labour Hame appears to be deid.
Nae activity since April 4th
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2012-04-21 22:45
sneckedagain

O/T

Labour Hame appears to be deid.
Nae activity since April 4th


Aye and their ‘last post’ (excuse the pun) on April 4th was titled ‘Lobbying transparency Scotland bill’. Since then no comments have appeared…. you could not get any more transparent than that!
 
 
# Union City Blues 2012-04-22 08:50
Another sign that Labour have given up in Scotland? If only?
 
 
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-21 23:15
I suppose it's too much to hope that the entirety of Scottish Labour have had what alcoholics refer to as 'a moment of clarity'?
 
 
# Fungus 2012-04-21 22:33
 
 
# balbeggie 2012-04-21 23:44
o/t I was going to post this on the latest news item but due to the content thought I would place it here:

A very astute article by Allan Massie

scotsman.com/.../...
 
 
# uilleam_beag 2012-04-22 05:25
Cheers for the link, Balbeggie. It's a good read and a rare example of measured analysis of the SNP's being a broad kirk by necessity/by definition ...in the MSM at least. The Hampden Hearts vs Murrayfield Minds is an interesting take, if a little simplistic, as Massive himself admits. I'm just a little uneasy with characterising "working class" tabloid-reading voters as being unthinking and ruled by emotions while suggesting those with a right of centre lean came to their conclusions by dint of engaging brains -- though I'll admit that's the way the latter set see it.
 
 
# judy 2012-04-22 02:13
I've been wondering for a while why the UK government has been so happy to see Scots being traduced and maligned at every opportunity, considering our oil and gas has been keeping Britain afloat for the last 40 years. They really seem to want to get rid of us and are doing nothing at all to stem anti-Scottish sentiment. Why? Do they think they can manage without us? Probably they do, if we are to believe the latest findings about shale gas, and how the Russian Gazprom is now running scared. There are lots of reports about this in economic and climate change forums, but here's a report from Reuters:

"Britain may have enough offshore shale gas to catapult it into the top ranks of global producers, energy experts now believe. UK offshore reserves of shale gas could exceed one thousand trillion cubic feet (tcf), compared to current rates of UK gas consumption of 3.5 tcf a year, or five times the latest estimate of onshore shale gas of 200 trillion cubic feet. 'There will be a lot more offshore shale gas and oil resources than onshore,' Nigel Smith, subsurface geologist and geophysicist at the British Geological Survey (BGS) said. UK offshore reserves could be five to 10 times as high as onshore, he said." --Henning Gloystein and Christopher Johnson, Reuters, 17 April 2012

Not sure exactly where these massive offshore fields are, but they are not exclusively in Scottish waters, and in fact may be predominantly in rump UK areas.
 
 
# george davie 2012-04-22 08:51
Mr Massie adopts a very patronising tone describing Mr Salmond’s approach as “cunning”.

The fact that people from all walks of life are being convinced of the need for Independence worries all Unionists.

Mr Massie is a Unionist.

His attempt to divide Nationalist voters into Hampden Nationalists and Murrayfield Nationalists is a ploy to cause division.

When Unionist commentators write apparently “balanced” or “measured” articles I am immediately suspicious of their intentions.

In short I find it extremely difficult to trust any of the Unionist media. I think Mr Massie is “playing games”.

If you read “The Games People Play” by Eric Berne you will find him and many other Unionist "games playing characters" within.
 
 
# Nautilus 2012-04-22 11:05
Quite a few have mentioned the CO2 produced by the mining and refining of uranium. No one has mentioned the millions of tons of the greenhouse gas emitted when the billions of tons of concrete are produced from limestone for the safe containment of these plants.
CaCO3 + Heat -- CO2 +CaO
 
 
# CapnAndy 2012-04-23 15:08
Nautilus.
Absolutely right.
I heard a story some years back, that the day before the construction of the Channel Tunnel was announced, the entire Tory cabinet sank huge amounts of money into shares in cement companies.
Watch for that happening again.
 
 
# Tearlach 2012-04-23 19:40
Useful factoid all, which I've posted here before - currently the UK spends about a £1B a year on ROC's the financial instrument that supports/subsidizes/invests (choose which you prefer) renewable energy. The annual budget for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (the NDA)is £2.2B. In other words the UK is spending twice as much per annum on cleaning up old nuclear sites than on supporting Renewables.

The only difference is that cost of ROCs is directly on our energy bills, whilst the NDA budget comes from general taxation.

Now there is no real argument that a nuclear plant emits a loss less carbon over its 25 year life than a comparable coal plant - without CCS.

But what would you rather invest in? Scottish technology for wave and tidal, off-shore wind and CCS, areas where we can export to the rest of the world, or spend that cash buying a couple of French Reactors?
 
 
# Georgerov 2012-04-25 10:54
Quote " SNP MP Mike Weir says the UK Government’s energy policy is now in tatters after the document revealed plans to subsidise nuclear energy generation through household electricity bill ". Well that will be much the same then as the subsidies we are paying at the moment on our bills for wind generation !.
 
 
# Tearlach 2012-04-26 02:18
Georgeerov

"Well that will be much the same then as the subsidies we are paying at the moment on our bills for wind generation"

Currently support for Renewables (ie ROCs) is paid for through Utility Bills. The cost of decommissioning old nuclear plant, which runs about twice that of ROCs, is paid for through general taxation.

I'd rather any cost of new nuclear was transparent and paid through Utility Bills rather than hidden as a nuclear subsidy, would you not agree? Then we can see the real cost of Nuclear,eh.
 

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