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Legal bid lodged to block nuclear power development

Nuclear power could be blocked from being developed in the UK and European Union (EU) if a complaint over Government subsidies sent by lawyers to the European Commission is upheld.

Lawyers for the Energy Fair Group and other environmental groups prepared the complaint that says the subsidies breach EU competition regulations.

Action may be taken by campaigners through the UK courts or by politicians lobbying in the Houses of Parliament, aimed at reducing or removing subsidies for developers of nuclear power.

The largest of the four subsidies highlighted in the complaint is the low cap on liabilities for nuclear accidents. The Energy Fair Group argued that operators of nuclear plants should be more robustly insured. It added that its research showed there were more subsidies for nuclear power planned in the UK.

“The Government’s planned Electricity Market Reform is set to rig the energy market in favour of nuclear,” said MP for Brighton Pavilion and leader of the Green party of England and Wales Caroline Lucas. “I trust the European Commission will take action and prevent the UK’s nuclear plans from seriously undermining the shift towards new green energy,.

“There is no justification of any kind for subsidising nuclear power” said Energy Fair’s Gerry Wolff. “It is a mature technology that should be commercially viable without support. Renewables have clear advantages in cost, speed of construction, security of energy supplies, and effectiveness in cutting emissions of CO2. “There are more than enough to meet our needs now and for the foreseeable future, they provide diversity in energy supplies, and they have none of the headaches of nuclear power.”

Readers' comments (5)

  • Has there been a major discovery recently which would enable wind and solar power to deliver electricity on calm, cold, winter nights? If not then a "cap" on these renewables at at between 12% and 20% has been suggested.

    I believe that Denmark is the only country to exceed these limits, which it does by buying in power when required - an expensive option.

    Surely, level playing field arguments would suggest that the FITs scheme should be banned?

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  • Fully agree with RG above. Windmills have been with us for thousands of years - a far, far more mature market than nuclear and therefore less entitled to any subsidy - particularly when funding of changes being incorporated in current nuclear designs provide fundamental improvements on safety and waste disposal - the major insurance considerations.

    As to the usual unsubstantiated statement from Renewable Energy System Suppliers - mainly Wind Turbines and Solar panels."Renewables have clear advantages in cost, speed of construction, security of energy supplies, and effectiveness in cutting emissions of CO2". LOL as they say!

    To be fair, let the NCE publish the evidence from the Renewable Industry and the Green Party of the actual total unit generated power costs, and the total power and the costs per Tonne of CO2 removed by Total Wind Farm Systems compared with other Power Generation Systems.

    You can't be any more reasonable than that, and the Renewable Energy should be prepared to fully substantiate what it keeps preaching, something it should have done years ago.

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  • What earth do these people live on? Wherever it is, can they please be encouraged to move there as soon as possible and spend their evenings shivering in flickering candle light when they have very cold weather and there is no wind ?

    Jeff Farrington

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  • Michael Paul

    To enable the storage of power produced by renewable sources in various forms over the inevitable non-production periods for solar or wind plants, many engineers are currently involved on interesting research projects. These cost money to develop, cannot yet be described as mature, and are therefore entitled to be subsidised. It would be more appropriate to encourage this sort of work, which has made much worthwhile progress in recent years, although it has only received a fraction of the funding which nuclear power has swallowed up (without as yet for example producing a permanent solution as to how to dispose of all the nuclear waste) than to continue the scaremongering of "the lights going out".
    Mike Paul, Stuttgart, Germany

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  • I have no doubt, as Mr. Paul says, that there are interesting research projects ongoing - a great deal of research is interesting or those involved probably wouldn't be pursuing it. However, just because it is interesting doesn't make it worthy of funding. Unless someone has come up with an idea for large scale energy storage that doesn't involve massive batteries, less than 100% efficient machinery and/or massive civil engineering works, then basic logic dictates that creating significant base load capacity from intermittent renewable sources, even if technically achievable, can be neither efficient, cost effective nor sustainable.

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