The Energy Fair group of energy consultants and academics has stripped out all subsidies and says that the real cost of nuclear power is at least £200 per MWh, which is much more than the cost of offshore wind power at £140 per MWh or that of onshore wind power at less than £90 MWh. If EDF has done similar sums—there have been rumours in the industry of asks as high as £165 per MWh for the strike price—that raises the extraordinary possibility that nuclear power, a mature and not very competitive industry started in 1956, might be asking for a strike price comparable with or even higher than that of the newly emerging wind industry.
Some of the news reports arising from this news release:
- Nuclear: The path to power (Building.co.uk, 2012-06-08). But the whole system is subject to a legal challenge at the European
Commission by protest group Energy Fair. Gerry Wolff, leader of the
group, says: “The proposed ‘contracts for difference’ is a blank cheque
to a nuclear industry that is already heavily subsidised.” Energy
Fair’s complaint centres on the argument that guaranteeing returns to
particular generating technologies, including nuclear, doesn’t meet with
European competition rules. Although the government is still in
discussions with the Commission to ensure its system is permissible, it
is not clear when this will be fully resolved.
Subsidies for new nuclear reactors are a “bet the farm” investment (Enformable Nuclear News, 2012-05-24).
Poor people will foot the bill for nuclear white elephants (Market Oracle, 2012-05-24).
Letters to the press
Letters to politicians
- In mid April 2012, all MEPs were sent personalised emails, each one urging action to halt moves to allow nuclear power to benefit from the same kinds of subsidies as are allowed for solar power and wind power:
In mid April 2012, all members of the French Assemblée Nationale and the French Senat were sent personalised emails, in French, each with a copy of our press release NEW-BUILD NUCLEAR POWER: A HIGH-RISK GAMBLE, and an introduction suggesting that, if EDF were to go ahead with its UK nuclear projects, it would risk a downgrade in its credit rating, with a consequent risk of a downgrading of the credit rating for the whole of France: