CONsultation – YOU PAY FOR NEW NUCLEAR!! Deadline to comment today – please write…

Apologies for not doing this sooner the deadline is today but please do drop them a line

even if its just to say that you are not willing to pay for new nuclear in your electricity bill.
Our letter is below – there is also a great letter from Suffolk Friends of the Earth which I have pasted at the foot of the post for you to see
Dear RAB Consultaiont
Regulated Asset Base funding model for nuclear
The proposed Regulated Asset Base funding model is geared to support nuclear “developers” at the expense of tax payers and consumers.
We understand this funding model would probably first fund Sizewell C then Bradwell, followed by Heysham and several others on the UK government’s wish list of new nuclear builds.
In the most insensitive timing, on the anniversary of the Windscale disaster and in the midst of the building of a new gas plant especially for Sellafield,  theNorth West Evening Mail published an article straight from the nuclear industry’s press office touting the ‘Rediscover Nuclear’ campaign. Some of the laughable descriptions include “homegrown” “safe” “low carbon”.

Each of these claims is blatantly untrue

UK “homegrown” nuclear.

The UK only ever sold 2 reactors back in 60s, British Energy no longer exists. The UK doesn’t really have much of a civil nuclear industry. What is “homegrown” about it? Electricite de France? China General Nuclear Power Corporation?

These largely state owned companies are now looking for long term nuclear funding from the UK taxpayer.
It is clear that The UK government’s and industry led Rediscover Nuclear / Nuclear Renaissance is floundering with none of the multinational corporations still involved due to the obscene and escalating costs. Despite nuclear being a ‘mature’ industry there have never been any nuclear new builds completed without state aid.  The government said that new nuclear would not be at the taxpayers expense – this is clearly not possible and the taxpayer is in the firing line.  

Now UK government have announced examining new financing strategy/funding models for Nuclear new build:-  . Basically, the scheme is if people pay an electricity bill they will be paying extra for new Nuclear with an extra Nuclear Tax on their bill.  This is tantamount to extortion.

Many people, are morally opposed to nuclear power in the same way and for the same reasons that they are morally opposed to premeditated murder.  As medical physicist  John Gorman said “Licensing a nuclear power plant is in my view, licensing random premeditated murder.”  We agree.  The inevitable routine radioactive emissions and accidents from the mining of uranium to the application of depleted uranium on missiles all cause death and suffering.  The public would suffer a double whammy of paying for resulting deaths, suffering and irreversible ecological damage as well as paying for the new nuclear build in the first instance. The public would be fully justified in refusing to pay the percentage of their electricity bill that would go to fund nuclear power.
yours sincerely
Marianne Birkby
on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland

Response to Government consultation on the funding of new nuclear power using the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model

The fact of the matter is that nuclear power is a totally uneconomic way of producing electricity and should be scrapped.  Most particularly Sizewell C should not go ahead.  No private investors will take the risk of funding new nuclear without considerable government back-up and subsidies.  Neither tax payers nor consumers should be obliged to pay for this out-dated technology.  The RAB model puts most of the risk on to the public.  This is completely unacceptable.

We are opposed to the principle of consumers being charged for construction costs long before any new nuclear power station comes on stream and before the benefit of the electricity is realised.  If the project fails, will the money be returned to us?  No.  We will have paid for nothing.  

As for older people, they most certainly should not be expected to pay.  As new nuclear plants take 12 years or more to build, pensioners may well have died before receiving any benefit.  How can this be fair?

This RAB scheme has been described as an ‘open cheque book’ for developers.  Of course it will appeal to them, as so much of the risk is put on to the public.  The Funding Cap will ensure that investors would not have to pay beyond a certain amount, if, for example, there is an accident.  Yet again, the tax payer would have to find the money.

Nuclear power has a very poor record on both time and cost overruns.  The Flamanville EPR project has suffered major technical problems, has welding faults, is 10 years late and four times over budget.  In Finland the same model is 11 years late.  We now learn that Hinkley Point C is already £2.9bn over budget and 15 months behind schedule.  It is madness to consider putting money into Sizewell C, this same highly risky EPR model.

We are not convinced by the argument that the cost of new nuclear would be cheaper for consumers overall with this RAB funding model.  While developers would be receiving interest-free money from us, this is more than offset by the very considerable risks posed by nuclear power development.  We should not be asked to carry such risks.

The fact is that nuclear power is far too expensive.  New offshore wind farms now cost less than half of the £92.20/MWh agreed for Hinkley Point C.

Your consultation document is out of date and therefore misleading.  You quote the cost of new nuclear power stations as being between £15bn to £20bn – but the cost of Hinkley Point C has already gone up to £22.5bn.

We do not believe EDF’s boast that the cost of Sizewell C would be 20% less than Hinkley Point C.  Construction on such a confined and environmentally sensitive and marshy site would be infinitely more difficult than at Hinkley, where there is solid bedrock to support the nuclear reactors.

As for the Nuclear Sector Deal to lower costs by 30% by 2030, this is ridiculous.  History consistently tells us that costs of building nuclear power stations always rise over time.

The Government Support Package may well protect investors against anything going wrong, but this consists of tax payers’ money.  In such a case, the public would have to find the funds and act as insurers.

The use of the RAB for the Thames Tideway Tunnel has been heavily criticised for the high payouts made to investors which consumers have to pay for.  At the start customers paid £13 p.a., but this is now expected to rise to between £20 to £25 in the early 2020s.  How can people in energy poverty be expected to find this sort of extra money?  How can we, the public, trust the government or the newly appointed regulator to be fair to consumers and tax payers having witnessed what is happening in London?  What control would we have over price rises?  None, it seems.

Many people, including ourselves, are strongly opposed to nuclear power on moral grounds: it is potentially highly dangerous, as the major accidents at Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Windscale show; the technology is linked to the production of nuclear weapons; the problem of the toxic waste, some of which will last for tens of thousands of years or more, has never been solved.  Who pays for the disposal and how much will that come to?  No one knows, except that the bill will be vast.  Moreover, the new EPR model at Hinkley Point C, and proposed for Sizewell C, uses high burn-up fuel.  There is no experience as yet of how to decommission these models, nor how to deal with the waste, nor is there any idea of what the liabilities are likely to be.

Most of us choose an electricity supplier who commits to renewables only, with no nuclear, such as Ecotricity or Good Energy.  Why should we be forced to pay for something we strongly object to?  This is wrong.  Our members do not support nuclear power at all and should not be obliged to pay for it.

It is our view that the RAB funding model is totally inappropriate for new nuclear power stations, due to the very long construction time scale, the high risks of cost and time overruns, the out-moded technology as compared with renewables, and the chance, however remote, of uninsurable accidents and terrorist attack. 

2 thoughts on “CONsultation – YOU PAY FOR NEW NUCLEAR!! Deadline to comment today – please write…

  1. Stuart Hunter

    The problem is, as always, that you know “what” is to be done……climate change/Co2 reduction etc. And it is easy for protest groups to bang a drum for the cause of “what”. The “how can it be done” involves much more complexity than protest groups ever acknowledge ( or understand?). I’m afraid that extinction rebellion want zero carbon by 2025/2030 and with those timescales nuclear power MUST be a part of the energy mix to avoid the 50% gas burning cover for poor solar and wind reliability. Yes….we can build other things and do other things but they take longer – perhaps a generation or two for the technology to advance. So please speak to extinction rebellion and ask them to stop campaigning for nuclear power. Right now they are arguing against everything you are advocating. Please publish this instead of censoring my contribution to the debate

    1. hi Stuart , You have had much more input on this blog which is dedicated to preventing nuclear pollution than I have had in talking about nuclear pollution on for example.the Friends of the Lake District fb site .just one of the sites i have been blocked from despite respectful language and evidence based comments. Hey ho

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