Thursday, January 10, 2008

Will new nuclear power stations be insurable?

The Government has announced its decision on nuclear power, which is SUCH a surprise!

Utility bosses such as Dr Paul Golby, CEO of E.On and Monsieur Vincent de Rivaz, CEO of EDF proclaim they do not want or seek subsidies for new nuclear build.

Anyone who believes this probably still thinks nuclear power is "so cheap as to be hardly worth metering" (the industry's original claim).

Here's a list of questions about just a few things the poor taxpayer will probably have to stump up for:

Insurance. Nuclear plant operators have limited liability in the case of an accident. Any cost over £700m is covered by the taxpayer. Are they prepared to take on board the full insurance liabilities, which in the case of Chernobyl has already run to several tens of billions?

And are they prepared to share with any other private investors the full costs of the pre-construction safety analysis, currently covered by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate using public money?

What about the costs of the UK's membership of the EU's nuclear agency, Euratom; and the International Atomic Energy Agency - both of which do promotional and safety work for nuclear? Taxpayers pay for this.

And the current Technology Strategy Board £100m competition for proposals for collaborative research and development, into low carbon tech, including nuclear power.

Or the current research done by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, using taxpayers' money, on so-called Generation 4 reactor designs?

And are we expected to believe these companies will be around in any time over a few decades hence, for thousands of years, to pay for the full cost of management of the new radioactive waste produced?

The Low Carbon Kid would place money on all answers to these questions being in the negative.

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