LETTER: Why give second life to nuclear?

The Larkfleet Group of Companies is a local medium-sized business that focuses primarily on building energy-efficient new homes and developing renewable energy projects in this area.

Friday, 6th May 2016, 4:12 pm
Updated Friday, 6th May 2016, 5:17 pm

The government wants to deliver energy with little or no subsidy and this, it says, is why it does not support renewable energy.

However, the subsidies elsewhere dwarf those for renewables - and for what reason?

A highly conservative estimate puts the cost of power from the planned nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C over 35 years at £31.2 billion more than onshore wind and £39.9 billion more than solar power.

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This represents a ‘nuclear premium’ of between £2,700 and £3,400 for every individual in the UK.

There is also a further cost of between £54 billion and £132 billion for waste management and a further £100 million per year of additional security costs applying to the nuclear supply chain.

Insurance costs could also add billions over the lifetime of the plant.

These figures make nonsense of the Treasury’s claim about no subsidies.

Why, then, is the government so keen to give the nuclear industry a second life, when the alternative of continued subsidy for renewable energy development is not just cheaper but better for meeting our Paris COP commitments on climate change?

The renewables industry has already delivered cost savings of over 80 per cent and has been working actively and successfully to deliver a subsidy-free business model.

However, it needs more time to develop the new technologies to deliver renewable energy at nil subsidy cost.

The destruction of the renewables industry in the UK is projected to result in 27,000 job losses.

If only a fraction of the nuclear subsidies were made available for renewables, it would create sustainable jobs and keep the UK at the heart of the international renewables industry.

The Japanese experience at Fukushima and the Ukrainian experience at Chernobyl - a disaster which happened 30 years ago this week - should also be a lesson to all on the risks involved.

Why do we want to put our children through the risk of this type of tragedy when the renewables are clearly cheaper, cleaner and safer?

Why won’t the government commit to an independent energy cost and technology audit to give the public clear facts and not bankrupt future generations with a policy which many of them (given the alternative) would not want?

Please ask the question of your elected politicians before it is too late.

Karl Hick

Chief executive