Nick Clegg’s Green Lie Goes Nuclear
THE Telegraph creates a storm over Nick Clegg’s kak-handed attempt to create a coherent energy policy. For starters, we have Rosie Prince writing:
The Government has given provisional approval to the building of at least 10 new nuclear reactors, costing around £50 billion each, at eight sites as part of the pledge to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent in coming decades.
Each? No. Nuclear reactors do not cost that much. As recently as 2008, the BBC reported:
How much does it cost to build a nuclear power station?
There are few recent examples to draw on, but a new plant being built in Finland gives some indications. The Olkiluoto project is Western Europe’s first new reactor in a decade and is expected to cost about £2.25bn ($4.5bn), but there have been serious delays there. Other analysts put the cost of a plant at £1.5bn.
So much for the journalist offering insight and fact in the face of scaremongering politicians. And it is scary. This is nuclear energy and in the press it is always scary:
The Liberal Democrat leader insisted that no extra government money would be found to meet additional costs and suggested that energy firms would struggle to raise investment from the private sector as a result of the Japanese near-meltdown.
The “near-meltdown” trigged by a massive earthquake and tsunami? Is the UK in an earthquake zone? So. What’s the alternative? Here’s Nick Clegg:
“We have always said that there are two conditions for the future of nuclear power, They [the next generation power stations] have to be safe…”
Ohhhhh. Can’t we have at least one unsafe one? Please, Nick?
“…and we cannot let the taxpayer be ripped off, which is what they always have been in the past.”
Instead, the taxpayers pay for the new green technologies in their increased energy bills.
The Lib Dems had long opposed nuclear power but agreed in Coalition negotiations last year that existing power stations could be renewed as long as no public funds were involved. They demanded that energy firms no longer benefit from generous public subsidies and be self-funding. Now Mr Clegg believes the extra costs of protecting the new plants could prove unsustainable.
They’re lying, of course. For they’re entirely happy for renewables to be subsidised massively: £6 billion a year coming on the Renewables Obligation alone. What they’ve done is a piece of politician doublespeak. Nuclear cannot have direct taxpayer subsidy: OK. But nuclear also isn’t allowed to have the indirect, from customer bills or from obligations or from carbon prices, subsidy either. Indeed, nuclear still has to pay the climate change levy.
This only works because they can, hand on heart, say that renewables aren’t getting direct taxpayer subsidy. The subsidy is built into energy bills.