Nuclear Industry’s Financial and Safety Nightmare

ISIS Press Release 22/09/08

A devastating new report exposes UK’s unfolding nuclear catastrophe. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

Voodoo economics dooms nuclear renaissance

Paul Brown, environmental correspondent of The Guardian newspaper in Britain, has produced a detailed report documenting why it is not possible to achieve what the UK Government says it will do, build a new generation of nuclear stations without public subsidy [1].

New build will not be possible without large sums of taxpayers’ money being pledged, and extending the unlimited guarantees to underwrite all the debts of the existing and future nuclear industry.”

One should point out here that it appears impossible to have new nuclear build in the United States even with extremely generous public subsidy [2] (Nuclear Renaissance Runs Aground, SiS 40). In the UK, there is already extensive hidden subsidy to the industry.

Brown’s report exposes how badly the nuclear industry has performed over the entire 50 years of unfulfilled promises, and the escalating bill to the taxpayer.

The UK nuclear industry, like that in the US [2], has never completed any project on time or on budget and has saddled the nation with a mammoth nuclear fuel reprocessing complex at Sellafield that’s a financial as well as safety nightmare.

British Energy, the commercial company privatised in 1996, soon ran into serious financial trouble [3] (see Box 1), and had to be taken over by the government. That meant the taxpayer has essentially underwritten all its debts and liabilities so the company can never go bankrupt. Brown remarks: “This commitment dwarfs the risk to the taxpayer of the Northern Rock nationalisation.” It means paying for the maintenance and decommissioning of ageing nuclear power stations, and worst of all, the upkeep of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing complex.

Read the rest of this article here

This is the third of a five article series on nuclear power. Other titles are

Nuclear Renaissance Runs Aground

Close-up on Nuclear Safety

Read other articles about energy generation here


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