Good News For Opponents Of Nuclear Power

May 2012

We reported in the last Mailing the decision by two German nuclear power firms not to build new power stations at Wylfa, on Anglesey, and Oldbury in Gloucestershire, had thrown the UK nuclear industry into disarray. Now, the opponents of nuclear power have been encouraged further. The head of GDF Suez, a French company, has said he would want to see more government support before continuing with plans for a new plant at Sellafield. And Centrica, which was planning to build the new power station at Hinkley Point, and is the only British company involved in building new nuclear power stations, has threatened to pull out due to uncertainty over the government’s energy policy.

The government has consistently said there will be no subsidies for nuclear power and Ed Davey, Lib Dem Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, reiterated this position recently (Lib Dem Voice 20.4.12). But there remains widespread suspicion that ways will be found to circumvent the promise. The Guardian, 20.4.12, reported that it had seen a secret document allowing “contracts for difference”, which would guarantee a steady income over the lifetime of a new plant. The leader of the Lib Dem group in the European Parliament, who has always opposed nuclear power, said that “Industry on all sides believe this is a subsidy.” She wants the UK court of auditors as well as the European commission to give a legal ruling on the issue and believes any subsidy runs against the coalition agreement.

The Cumbria Association of Local Councils, which used to support another nuclear dump in Cumbria, has changed its position. It no longer “consider[s] the programme as currently envisaged to be credible or viable”.

The “Mayors for a Nuclear Power Free Japan” network was officially launched in Tokyo on April 28, 2012. It was initiated by mayors and local municipal leaders attending the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World, held in Yokohama in January. 66 mayors from 34 prefectures throughout Japan have declared their participation.