So finally the Government has, after I feared so long it would, chosen the doomsday option to fund new nuclear power stations – one that will be disastrous for the consumers and taxpayers. After years of swearing that they would not offer subsidies to nuclear power, and saying that in the future the terrible drain of (historical) over-spending on nuclear power would stop, the Government has gone back to square zero. Essentially, under the Government’s proposals for so-called ‘Regulated Asset Base’ (RAB) of funding nuclear power (described in a recent article in ‘Unearthed’, a Greenpeace publication), the nuclear developers will have no real limit on what they can spend to build the power stations. It is a recipe for national disaster. No private developer is willing to take the construction risks of funding nuclear power in the UK, whatever ‘strike price’ is offered for the electricity that might be generated in future. Doesn’t that tell you something? So EDF stepped up to the mark. EDF, the French state-owned company, may be starting the real part of the construction of Hinkley C in 2019/2020. The French state will pay for the inevitable cost overruns that come along with building the plant, combined quite probably, with an out-of-contract bailout by the British Government when the going gets tough. But now the Government is casting around for another nuclear power plant to be built, – Wylfa or Sizewell C – but neither developer (Hitachi or now EDF) wants to take the risk of paying the almost inevitable losses on the project. So enter the Government’s new proposals which will no doubt be promoted as a simple accountancy trick to lower costs, but hide the fact that the state will take the losses, to be divided up between us as taxpayers (loss of guaranteed loans and construction risk guarantees) and electricity consumers (advance payments on top of electricity bills). And, note this, whatever ministers may say, the exposure by taxpayers and consumers in UNLIMITED.
Dave Toke’s Blog 7th Aug 2018 read more »