apologies for delay in posting this to greenmail
NEWS: Green Party in England & Wales
Energy review an exercise in 'consult and ignore'
'Private funding of nuclear power a sham and a fudge'
Green Party Principal Speaker Keith Taylor commented: "Alistair
Darling has today led the UK down a dirty and dangerous path, that of
a fresh round of astronomically expensive nuclear power stations.
"He claims to believe that the private sector will 'fund, construct
and operate new nuclear plants and cover the cost of decommissioning
and their full share of long term waste management.' This is a sham
and a fudge - no where in the world is nuclear power entirely self
financing. We have yet to see a single nuclear power station come in
on budget. The World Bank has made a decision not to finance new, or
the upgrading of old, nuclear power plants because 'in almost all
cases, nuclear is not the least-cost solution to the power supply
"The government will be forced to use 'hidden,' less obvious forms of
subsidisation of nuclear power, such as guarantees to cover project
risk, subsidised interest rates, and super-long contracts at
guaranteed prices, in order to entice private investors. Generators
including British Energy and EdF have already said they would be
prepared to commit private finance to building new nuclear plants in
Britain -- as long as they can get long-term contracts guaranteeing
"Nor is reliance on the private sector a guarantee of financial
security: In 2002, having to compete for electricity sales against
non-nuclear energy generators, British Energy found its losses piling
up. The UK government was forced to salvage the UK's biggest nuclear
power generator - the cost of bailing out the company has now risen
to £1.5 billion. This is a staggering 30% increase and more than the
"The only point at which Mr Darling today mentioned an Energy White
Paper was when talking of measures to facilitate new nuclear power
stations - such as streamlining the licensing process. The other
measures outlined raise more questions than they answer - how will
they translate the rhetoric into action on the ground, especially in
terms of the micro-generation push?
"Using nuclear power to tackle climate change is a fool's paradise.
It eats up cash - which could be far more effectively used elsewhere
– and it already has high carbon emissions from construction and fuel
processing. Indeed, the limited supplies of high grade uranium will
soon be exhausted forcing exploitation of lower grade uranium sources
– raising both costs and carbon emissions even further.
"It is absurd to insist that nuclear power must be included in a
‘balanced’ energy mix. There's nothing balanced in expanding nuclear
energy and leaving the clean up bill for future generations. Greens
and others - including the government’s own Sustainable Development
Commission - have thoroughly assessed nuclear power and have
concluded that the industry has offered no genuine case that can be
"A recent Green Party survey found that 89% of people agreed with
the 'the Government had already decided what they wanted to do about
nuclear power stations before this debate started. Accusations of
'rubber stamping' are today wholly justified."