Government's nuclear sums don't add up

April 20, 2007 10:37 AM

Lib Dem Energy spokesperson, David Howarth, has challenged the nuclear power costings produced in the Government's Energy Review.

David said:

"The Energy Review underestimates the financing costs of new nuclear power stations by about 50%. It ignores the additional financial risk of embarking on long nuclear projects that has left nuclear power reliant on hidden subsidies in order to be financially viable.

" The nuclear industry has an appalling record of cost overruns. It runs as much on optimism as uranium, no British project has ever been able to deliver both to budget and to time. And then there are the massive hidden subsidies which cap the company liability in case of nuclear accident. It is taxpayers who will have to pick up the tab if the worst should happen. The industry says that losing these subsidies would make them uninsurable but that is the industry's problem not the taxpayers.

"If we ignore these huge public subsidies nuclear power becomes more expensive than both onshore and offshore wind and more expensive than clean coal with carbon capture and storage. Claims that nuclear power will cheaply reduce carbon emissions simply do not add up."

David also described the nuclear power industry as inherently secretive:

"Nuclear power has a terrible record of secrecy and yesterday's statement will only dent public confidence further. But I question whether the industry can ever achieve the openness it needs to regain confidence. Nuclear power technology is intimately connected with nuclear weapons technology and the processes and materials raise serious security risks. A nuclear state must be a security state."

David Howarth MP in the House of Commons

David Howarth MP

David spoke during the Westminster Hall debate New Nuclear? Examining the Issues yesterday.

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