Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Revealed: the cost of government support for nuclear power

The full costs of managing the country's stockpile of plutonium was estimated at £3 billion last December.

The Government's budget for developing and delivering new nuclear was £11 million from January to April 1.

And £167 million, or almost 30%, of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC)'s budget went to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in the first three months of this year.

These are astonishing figures gleaned from DECC's last quarterly report.

They show just how much the government is spending on supporting nuclear power.

They reveal that DECC is experiencing severe budget cuts at the same time as this is going on, and that this is impacting particularly on delivery of Green Deal measures and the Renewable Heat Incentive.

For DECC, its quarterly budget of £468 million was down to just 52% of the same time last year.

Of this, just £13 million was spent on bringing about a low carbon Britain.

Although the full costs of managing the country's stockpile of plutonium was estimated at £3 billion last December, and this figure dwarfs the other budgets, it is not up to date, the report admits.

Moreover, we are unlikely to find out the true figure even when it is finally determined.

This is because, the report says “it is likely that these [figures] will be commercially sensitive.

"This cost data is therefore not included in the aggregated whole life cost figure for all DECC's major projects."

This means that the public will not know the true amount it pays for managing existing nuclear waste.

The budget for developing and delivering new nuclear is £11 million.

This is almost as much as the £13 million for developing a low carbon Britain - or is it part of that figure?

Of course, the government will argue that this is not a subsidy.

Nevertheless it is taxpayers' cash spent on promoting nuclear power as a policy objective and trying to secure new nuclear power stations, despite nuclear operators pulling out.

The latest companies to be interested are Chinese. Do we really want our new nuclear power stations to be built and managed by Chinese companies?

That £11 million should instead be spent on developing and supporting new renewable energy installations made by British workers in this country.

These would certainly be up and running far earlier than any new nuclear power station.

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