EU move to end backdoor nuclear subsidy
- Published on Friday, 05 October 2012 16:24
- Posted by Vicki Mitchem
Westminster's ill-conceived moves towards a new generation of nuclear power have suffered a fresh blow as the European Commission announced intentions to require nuclear operators to hold tougher insurance cover.
The UK Government currently caps the liability nuclear operators face for accidents, effectively providing a backdoor subsidy to the industry by guaranteeing that taxpayers will meet the costs beyond a defined threshold in the event of an accident.
If nuclear operators were required to hold full insurance to cover themselves in the event of an accident, the costs to nuclear operators would climb sharply further eroding the economic viability of a new generation of nuclear power stations.
EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger announced the Commission's intentions to legislate for tougher requirements, and is quoted as saying it is not his job to "make nuclear cheaper".
Commenting, SNP MSP Chic Brodie who sits on the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee said:
"It has long been a farce that the UK Government has provided a backdoor subsidy to the nuclear energy industry by not requiring them to fully insure themselves against the costs of a nuclear accident.
"The EU is right to move to close this loophole so that taxpayers are not left picking up the costs in the event of a nuclear accident.
"With the spiralling costs making a new generation of nuclear power stations less and less practical, this move by the EU should surely convince Westminster to end its costly obsession with nuclear energy.
"A new generation of nuclear energy would see Westminster rob the renewables sector to support the otherwise unviable nuclear industry.
"That would be a catastrophe for Scotland and it is right that the EU is moving to end the unfair backdoor subsidy that the sector currently receives.
"The view of the Scottish Government and indeed Scotland's Parliament as a whole on nuclear is absolutely clear. Scotland simply doesn't want or need dangerous and unnecessary new nuclear power stations, with soaring decommissioning costs and the unresolved problem of storage of radioactive waste that burdens future generations for thousands of years."