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STOP PRESS: Nuclear subsidies (Hinkley Point C). This is a commentary on the Commission decision of 08.10.2014 on the aid measure SA.34947 (2013/C) (ex 2013/N) which the United Kingdom is planning to implement for support to the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, from the European Commission.

KEY READS: 

It appears that some key arguments and conclusions in the Commission's decision are false. And it appears that the errors in these arguments and conclusions arise largely from seriously deficient understandings of technical aspects of nuclear power and technical aspects of electricity supply systems. Because of the apparent importance of those technical issues, much of Nuclear subsidies (Hinkley Point C) is devoted to them.


At a meeting in London in February 2009, five of us discussed the question: "Can a legal case be made that subsidies for nuclear power should be removed, on the grounds that they create unfair competition for renewables?" In brief, the legal advice that we have received is that the answer to the question is, "yes", a case can certainly be made.

The first step in any legal action is to make a formal complaint to the European Commission about unlawful state aid for nuclear power.

The main reasons for making the complaint are:

  • Raising awareness of existing and proposed new subsidies for nuclear power.

  • Raising awareness amongst potential investors in nuclear power that the industry depends heavily on subsidies, that the subsidies are not set in concrete, and that they may be withdrawn at any time.

  • If the complaint is at least partially successful, some or all of the subsidies may be withdrawn.