Friday, February 25, 2011


This from the excellent Gerry Wolff:

A formal complaint has been made to the European Commission that nuclear power in the UK is receiving subsidies, and that those subsidies are unlawful ‘state aid’ under laws governing competition in the EU.

“One of the biggest subsidies for nuclear power in the UK is that it is required to pay much less than the full cost of insuring against a Chernobyl-style disaster or worse” said Dr Gerry Wolff, a member of the Energy Fair group that has made the complaint. “The nuclear industry is also paying much less than the full cost of disposing of nuclear waste and for the decommissioning of nuclear plants.”

“Without the subsidies that it is receiving, nuclear power would be hopelessly uncompetitive. But it is a mature technology that should be commercially viable without support. Those subsidies are distorting the market and working against the development of the clean, green sources of power that are now urgently needed. There are now many reports from reputable sources showing that there are more than enough renewable sources of power to meet our needs, now and for the foreseeable future.”


1 The three documents in the complaint are:

2 This complaint relates to the situation in the UK as it is now. Recently, the UK government has made proposals for reform of the electricity market which, if they are accepted, will change the situation in the future. We will be studying these proposals and if, as we suspect, they mean new subsidies for nuclear power and fail to remove existing subsidies, it is likely that the new proposals will be the subject of another complaint to the EC in the future.

3 There are more than enough renewable sources of power to meet our needs, now and in the foreseeable future: .

4 The several problems with nuclear power are described on: .

5 The website of the Energy Fair group is at: .



We are about to lose 12 gigawatts of generating capacity. I agree with you that green energy from renewables is the way forward but there simply sre not enough sources of renewable generation available today.

In Reading we have a wind turbine that receives £130,000 per annum of subsidies but generates only £100,000 worth of electricity per annum.

Nuclear is a viable option re CO2 emmissions yet no plant could be built before we lose our 12 gigwatts which means that we will be buying in electricity from the French and guess how that will be generated?

Offshore wind is part of the solution however we should be looking at the problem from the bottom up in my opinion.


When I say from the bottom up - there is no tongue in cheek - I mean that plans to license every anaerobic digester on every sewage treatment works to acccept food waste for power generation should be passed now - this week.

DocRichard said...

Gideon, these are good points. I suggest you dip into Gerry Wolf's leads, he points to several good in depth reviews that we can make it through, with a thorough investment in conservation and renewables. But it will only happen if we stop talking and start doing.

And I fully agree re anaerobic digestion &c. There are many many established and emerging technologies that can meet our energy needs (but not our energy greed).