Andrew Brown, British Energy, EDF, Electricite de France, Flamanville, France, French Invasion, General Election, Gordon Brown, Hinkley Point, Labour, Moorside, nuclear energy, nuclear reactors, nuclear waste, UK, Vote Green
Today is the deadline for bids to takeover British Energy, the country’s beleaguered nuclear operator. Leading the pack of foreign companies hoping to get their hands on BE’s nuclear sites is the French government owned Electricité de France, or EDF as they prefer to be known on this side of the Channel.
Now, EDF is hoping to bag large tranches of UK land at nuclear sites – not for BE’s financial integrity or for operational performance, but to add the UK to its nuclear catalogue. Put simply, they reckon building a new reactor on British soil will pull punters into their atomic showroom.
Flogging BE has been heralded as a sure step forward in the fight against climate change and a way of getting some much needed money back in to the Treasury coffers after the UK taxpayer bailed them out in 2002. But look a little closer and, not surprisingly, it is anything but.
The expected takeover by EDF (a notion which would have Nelson turning in his grave) will come at huge financial cost, do very little to help the UK reduce its carbon emissions and lead to continued confusion over who picks up the tab for the radioactive legacy.
Only this week, the CEO of E.oN, one of the worlds’ largest power providers, said that any replacement programme of nuclear reactors, including the cost of BE, could cost up to £60 billion.
£60 billion! That’s twice the amount this muddling government stated only months ago. And it would only deliver a paltry four percent reduction in emissions. When you consider the kind of return you’d get if you invested this in renewable technology and energy efficiency it’s rather like comparing a radioactive Dairy Lea Triangle with a vintage Comté Extra Vieux.
To put it more bluntly, nuclear power is a multi-billion dollar blocker to actually getting the much more effective and cheaper alternative solutions up and running. If you find yourself tempted to scoff at this, ask EDF’s CEO Vincent de Rivaz. He recently declared at the Adam Smith Institute that if the UK meets it renewables targets, the role for nuclear power will be marginalised.
The French takeover of British Energy also raises the question of just who is going to pay the massive bill for cleaning up the toxic legacy of spent fuel once the keys to our reactors settle next to Citroen’s on the key fob. Since the beginning of 2005, the UK government has been legally committed to dealing with all the spent nuclear fuel on these sites, and this commitment will continue even when the sites are sold.
So instead of that money going back to the taxpayer, at a time when we are facing economic crisis, we will be subsiding French profits and accommodating increased fuel bills.
So, les incompetents in Westminster have once again undermined efforts to deliver meaningful reductions in carbon emissions and further burdened the tax payer with a legacy that will remain much longer than the memory of a Brown government that once again got it wrong.” http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/nuclear/let-them-eat-yellowcake-20080509 (Emphasis our own).
The UK is now declaring radioactive waste non-radioactive to send to landfill. However, once declared non-radioactive, it is no longer monitored. Hence, the eating of the nuclear waste will be literal, too. https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/radioactive-rubble-invasion/
The above £60 billion was for around 8 new nuclear power stations. Costs have almost tripled at Flamanville in France, despite substandard parts and illegal workers: “EDF recently estimated the construction costs of Flamanville at €8 billion (US$8.7bn) compared with an original estimate of €3.3bn, and that was before this setback… it will force a revision of the UK Government’s plan to offer EDF £10 billion in construction finance guarantees for Hinkley C. The discovery of the flaw in the Flamanville must now cause an upwards re-valuation of the guarantees – raising the cost of the development, as it raises the likelihood that UK taxpayers will have to shell out under the deal.” Read more here: “Nuclear reactor flaws raise Hinkley C safety fears“, by Paul Brown & Oliver Tickell, 14th April 2015 http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2829257/nuclear_reactor_flaws_raise_hinkley_c_safety_fears.html
“Let them eat cake” was reportedly said 100 years before Marie-Antoinette by Marie-Thérèse, the wife of Louis XIV. “It was a callous and ignorant statement and she, Marie Antoinette, was neither,“according to Marie-Antoinette’s English-language biographer, Antonia Fraser. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_them_eat_cake Marie-Antoinette was Austrian and loved books. Marie-Thérèse was Spanish.