State Aid for New Nuclear – Privatised Profit – Socialised Risk is the ONLY Way for Nuclear!

EDF Toxic Turd
EDF’s Adorable Toxic Turd Mascot

Many Thanks to Everyone who Wrote to the EU commissioners – the Vote was only just lost by two votes but this  now gives impetus to future legal challenges and activism against  this outrageous decision which completely overturns their original resolve not to agree state aid.

The EU makes much of its ‘competitive market’ but EDF is largely state owned by the French government which makes a mockery of genuine competitive markets.

Now the EU has agreed to EDF’s begging bowl tactic to socialise the costs and risk of nuclear.

Below is a letter sent to the Commission from Ulli Sima, Deputy Mayor for the Environment of the City of Vienna

European Commission Commissioner Joaquín Almunia Responsible for Competition

Vienna, 23 September 2014

Concerns about Hinkley Point C decision

Dear Commissioner Almunia,

Cities for a Nuclear Free Europe1 (CNFE) has noted with concern press reports this week that the Commission will shortly approve the State Aid application from the UK Government for the Hinkley Point C nuclear project.

CNFE has earlier submitted a detailed position paper on the planned UK subsidy for Hinkley Point C, in conjunction with the UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) and Stop Hinkley. A copy of that paper is attached with this letter.

The first question you as Competition Commissioner must surely answer is whether the proposed subsidies to Hinkley Point C are required in order for the UK to meet its energy security and climate change objectives. As noted in our joint statement with Nuclear Free Local Authorities and Stop Hinkley, we are of the opinion that the answer is clearly no.

Secondly is spending money on subsidy for nuclear power the most cost efficient way of reducing carbon emissions?
Again the answer is no – it would be much better to spend the money on other carbon reduction policies, such as the promotion of renewable energy technology and energy efficiency measures.

Finally, does awarding subsidies to one form of low carbon technology constitute unfair treatment of other forms of low carbon technology which might be available from elsewhere in Europe? The answer is clearly yes.

1 Cities for a Nuclear Free Europe’ (CNFE) are a group of European cities that are concerned for the health and security of its citizens, and are concerned by different aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle and the potential for serious accidents. In 2011, motivated by the Fukushima disaster, Ulli Sima, Deputy Mayor for the Environment of the City of Vienna, took the initiative to this informal network momentarily supported by 15 major European cities.

 The original response from the Commission to the UK Government in the letter dated 18 December 2013 was extremely thorough, and very lucidly laid out a long list of concerns and issues with the UK’s application. The legal rationale outlined in the letter was clear and showed the large number of high hurdles that would need to be overcome if the proposal were ever to be accepted.

It is therefore entirely incompatible with the original, rigorous approach adopted by the Commission that any approval decision should now be rushed through. In our view, the principles laid down in Article 13 TFEU require the outgoing Commission, when faced with a case of such importance, to allow the incoming Commission to evaluate the proposal and be responsible for the final decision, and not to take a last- minute decision, especially where a number of Member States have expressed negative views during the consultation.

We have been very surprised by the recent press reports and we very much hope that they are incorrect. Ultimately, in our view it is far better for the Commission to take its time with this decision, as it sets such an important precedent for energy policy in the EU; rather than rushing its approval through and increasing the prospect for a legal challenge.

This letter from CNFE is strongly supported by the UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities, which indicates strong local opposition to any hasty and inadequately reasoned decision by the Commission on Hinkley Point C. CNFE are also extremely concerned of the precedent that this anti-competitive decision would set for future contentious State Aid cases, particularly in the area of energy policy. Renewable energy across Europe could be hindered if the Commission supports this overly expensive and ultimately flawed attempt to reignite nuclear energy in the UK and across Europe.

I would appreciate a quick response to this letter, and CNFE would be very happy to meet with you and colleagues to discuss our concerns further.

Yours sincerely,

Ulli Sima
Deputy Mayor for the Environment of the City of Vienna

2 thoughts on “State Aid for New Nuclear – Privatised Profit – Socialised Risk is the ONLY Way for Nuclear!

  1. I was told many years ago, more than I care to remember, that no atomic power stations would be built in the UK without heavy subsidisation. That seer was Martin Forwood, the sage of Sellafield.

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