Chris Huhne email 2010-05-26

Dear Chris Huhne,

Although I would have preferred the LibCon Coalition to rule out any new nuclear power stations in the UK, I am somewhat reassured by the commitment that any new nuclear power stations should "receive no public subsidy" ("The Coalition: our programme for government", page 17).

As you will know, existing nuclear installations in the UK enjoy a range of subsidies. These are described in some detail in the Nuclear Subsidies report (PDF, 189 KB) from the Energy Fair group. The report can be downloaded via the link just given but I will send a printed copy to you as well.

The main subsidies described in that report are:
  • Limitations on liabilities: the operators of nuclear plants pay much less than the full cost of insuring against a Chernobyl-style accident or worse.
  • Underwriting of commercial risks: operators of nuclear plants cannot be allowed to fail.
  • Protection against terrorist attacks: at least some of the cost of protection against terrorist attacks is born by the Government.
  • Short-to-medium-term cost of disposing of nuclear waste: operators of nuclear plants are not paying the full cost of disposing of nuclear waste.
  • Long-term cost of disposing of nuclear waste: much of the long-term cost of disposing of nuclear waste will be paid by people who are not yet born.
  • Underwriting the cost of decommissioning nuclear plants: the Government bears the risk of cost over-runs in decommissioning nuclear plants.
  • Institutional support for nuclear power: the Government is providing various forms of institutional support for the nuclear industry.
Please would you confirm that these subsidies for existing nuclear installations will not be provided for any new nuclear plants in the UK.


Gerry Wolff

Dr Gerry Wolff PhD CEng

Energy Fair