New Lib Dem u-turn: Government may subsidise nuclear

Energy secretary Chris Huhne has been told to "stay true to supporters" over nuclear power as plans for new stations come closer, reports Katy Mughan.

The Liberal Democrat energy secretary, Chris Huhne, has been told to “stay true to supporters” over nuclear power as plans for a new generation of stations come one step closer to fruition. Meanwhile, reports suggest that the Government may breach its policy of “no money” for nuclear.

The Guardian has reported this week that, under current government plans, the taxpayer could end up bearing the costs of depositing waste from the new reactors. This is despite Chris Huhne saying as recently as July that there would be “no state subsidies for nuclear”.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the partially state-funded body responsible for cleaning up the UK’s publicly-owned civil nuclear sites, said the disposal costs could be underestimated, leaving the taxpayer to cover any shortfall, while Greenpeace said the economics of nuclear power did not add up and urged the Lib Dems to back renewable energy sources instead – a principle the party has historically been committed to and was assured in their 2010 manifesto.

Jim Footner, head of Greenpeace’s climate and energy campaign, said:

“Lib Dem voters backed a party that supported renewable energy, opposed taxpayer handouts to the nuclear industry and supported democratic engagement in planning.

“They need to stay true to supporters by dropping the costly distraction of nuclear power.”

 This move represents a further policy softening from the Lib Dems, who had already compromised their previous promise to “reject a new generation of nuclear power stations”. The coalition agreement allowed for:

“… the Liberal Democrats to maintain their opposition to nuclear power while permitting the Government to bring forward the National Planning Statement for ratification by Parliament so that new nuclear construction becomes possible.”

The announcement comes at the same time as Mr Huhne halted government funding for the Severn tidal energy project, scrapping the ambitious proposals for a 10-mile hydro-electric dam across the river that could have generated about five per cent of the UK’s electricity using renewable water power. He said a study had found there was “no strategic case” for the scheme.

Last week, two potential sites for new nuclear power stations were removed from the list, leaving the further eight sites near to existing nuclear plants, where it is thought that planning permission will be easier to obtain. The potential sites include Bradwell, Essex; Sizewell, Suffolk; Hartlepool, County Durham; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, South Gloucestershire; Sellafield, Cumbria; and Wylfa, Anglesey.

17 Responses to “New Lib Dem u-turn: Government may subsidise nuclear”

  1. GORDON LYEW

    RT @leftfootfwd: New Lib Dem u-turn: Government may subsidise nuclear: //bit.ly/coW9g1

  2. Joss Garman

    RT @leftfootfwd: New Lib Dem u-turn: Government may subsidise nuclear: //bit.ly/coW9g1

  3. Celyn

    Nuclear? No Subsidy? You must be joking. RT @leftfootfwd: New Lib Dem u-turn: Government may subsidise nuclear //bit.ly/aqk7p0

  4. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd New Lib Dem u-turn: Government may subsidise nuclear: //bit.ly/coW9g1

  5. Kristofer Keane

    RT @leftfootfwd: New Lib Dem u-turn: Government may subsidise nuclear: //bit.ly/coW9g1

  6. Ma

    RT @leftfootfwd: New Lib Dem u-turn: Government may subsidise nuclear: //bit.ly/coW9g1

  7. Russell Quirk

    RT @HouseofTwits: RT @leftfootfwd New Lib Dem u-turn: Government may subsidise nuclear: //bit.ly/coW9g1 >> More Lib Dem stuff today!

  8. Kevin rogers

    RT @leftfootfwd New Lib Dem u-turn: Government may subsidise nuclear: //bit.ly/coW9g1 so many u turns they must be dizzy

  9. Simon

    I heard Huhne being interviewed on PM last week when he repeated the policy of no subsidies. He is obviously a clueless twerp with no idea about the importance of new nuclear technologies for our future energy needs.

  10. jeff_h

    it’s bad news to subsidise nuclear, severn barrage or wind turbines. if you want elec with less carbon, just tax carbon and let the market do the rest. if the private sector doesn’t want to invest it’s probably a stupid idea.

  11. Sarah P

    RT @leftfootfwd: New Lib Dem u-turn: Government may subsidise nuclear: //bit.ly/coW9g1

  12. Mr. Sensible

    I happen to think that nuclear should have a role to play in meeting our future energy needs, but I think they should have given the go ahead to the Severn Barrage project.

  13. Gordon Gibson

    RT @celynwales: Nuclear? No Subsidy? Must be joking. @leftfootfwd: New Lib Dem u-turn: Government may subsidise nuclear //bit.ly/aqk7p0

  14. Kevin Richards

    Another broken promise from Chris Huhne. -RT @leftfootfwd: New Lib Dem u-turn: Government may subsidise nuclear //bit.ly/aqk7p0

  15. Darren Johnson

    More subsidy for nukes? Will genuine green energy get squeezed again, despite Lib Dem promises //bit.ly/9W4ww1

  16. harry potter

    i believe nuclear has a role to play if it is paid for by the private sector. ditto the severn barrage. government shouldnt pay for the severn barrage. it’s like commissioning a hundred millenium domes in one go. there is only 1 tidal barrage in the world as far as I know. at La Rance in France. the severn barrage will be 100 times as big. it really may not be a good idea. they haven’t caught on yet anywhere else.

  17. Mike Thomas

    So what do we do when the wind doesn’t blow… light up some candles?

    As for nuclear waste management, is Labour seriously campaigning here for 100% private industry? Incidentally, the operating model of the NDA is precisely the same as in the US so it is not without precedent.

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