Lib Dems condemn 'dead duck' nuclear policy

October 11, 2006 4:45 PM

David Howarth, Lib Dem Spokesperson for Energy, has today called the Government's energy policy a 'dead duck'.

Mr. Howarth's comments follow Energy Minister Malcolm Wick's claim yesterday that the Government will not subsidise nuclear power.

Mr. Howarth responded:

"Given the latest news of the huge cost overruns on the new Finnish nuclear reactor, the Government's claim to give no direct or indirect subsidies to the nuclear industry, seems to make their Energy Review policy favouring nuclear power a dead duck. Without expensive state subsidies, new nuclear power plants are not being built.

"Furthermore the Government seems to be ignoring the support it already provides to the nuclear power industry through liability caps in the case of accidents.

"I am also concerned that Alistair Darling has called for the private sector to cover the full costs of decommissioning but just their 'full share' of long-term waste management costs. If the Government intended no indirect subsidies to nuclear companies, why didn't it state openly that the industry would have to pay the 'full costs' not their 'full share' of the costs of waste management.

David Howarth MP

Energy Spokesman - David Howarth MP

"The Government's claims about nuclear power are at odds with each other. It claims to be against indirect subsidies and yet ignores the subsidies the industry already receives. Whatever the Government is currently claiming, nuclear power, if we go down that route, will be an expensive mistake."

State-owned French nuclear group, Areva, has reported losses of £180million in the first half of 2006 on a new reactor at Olkiluoto in Finland. This is the first nuclear reactor to be built in Western Europe in 20 years.

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