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Britain’s subsidies for nuclear power – unfair guarantees

Nuclear power’s place in a safer, cleaner Britain The Guardian, Professor Sue Roaf Edinburgh. 24 February 2013 The £240bn pledged in subsidies for new nuclear power stations in Britain would give £10,000 to each home in Britain so they could all install solar hot water, solar electric systems, controls and new boilers, where necessary with insulation and draught-stripping, and help take every home in Britain out of fuel poverty.

The solar option helps cut energy demand from homes by 50%-75%, saving huge amounts in NHS costs for mental and physical health. Solar systems generate electricity at less than half the C02 life-cycle costs for nuclear. Most importantly the nuclear route puts more people, every year, into fuel poverty as prices rise, putting profits into the pockets of Big Energy and Big Construction. The solar option actually builds local businesses and community resilience. The Arab spring showed us the power of people who can’t pay their bills. Can anyone tell me one good reason for choosing the nuclear over the solar option if our aim is to build a stronger, safer, cleaner, healthier Britain?
Chris Osman Oxford.There should be only two guarantees to nuclear operators: (a) that they can sell electricity at the price required to cover their costs, and (b) that they are guaranteed to be able to sell some agreed fraction (say 50%) of the output of their reactors while operational, regardless of the cost they have to charge. If the operators have to charge double the standard rate, then tough – it would expose the myth that nuclear fission is an economically competitive way of generating electricity.

International treaties enable the huge economic impact of a nuclear incident to be covered by governments, and thence the general public, instead of the operators. Operators should not be allowed to go bankrupt in the event of a serious incident but instead be required to charge whatever higher price for electricity from other reactors is necessary to cover the full cost. If this is 10 times the normal cost of electricity, again, tough.

February 25, 2013 - Posted by | politics, UK

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