Varrie Blowers unpacks the impacts of the Nuclear Industry (Financing) Act 2022 in BANNG’s Regional Life column for June 2022
Heard the fantasy about constructing an airport in the Thames estuary? And the one about constructing a bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland? Well, there is a new fantasy going the rounds: that eight new nuclear power stations will be constructed in the UK in the next decade.
And where is the Government proposing to obtain the huge sums required for construction? From your pocket, of course!
Under the Nuclear Industry (Financing) Act, 2022, it is intended that in order to attract investors a levy will be added to consumers’ energy bills to pay the upfront costs. Energy Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, thinks this will be ‘a small amount’ but at this time of soaring energy bills seems unable to reveal the actual figure.
And, on top of this, taxpayers will be paying £1.7bn to enable a large-scale nuclear plant to achieve a final investment decision in this Parliament.
Paying in advance for energy we may not need and will not get for many years is perverse and does nothing to address the current energy and cost of living crises.
Taxpayers will also pay double the original estimated cost of decommissioning the UK’s seven ageing nuclear power stations: £23.5bn and rising.
And they will almost certainly have to foot the bill for some of the massive costs for the as-yet-non-existent Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) to store the nation’s nuclear wastes and to manage the wastes that will have to remain on new build sites into the 23rd century.
And they say nuclear is cheap! It is ludicrously expensive and the costs are long-lived. Nor does new nuclear address the present energy crisis. Current and many, many future generations of taxpayers will be picking up the tab for vast nuclear expenditure. We must hope that the proposed new stations remain within the realm of fantasy!