George Osborne has hailed the new Hinkley nuclear station as good value for consumers. How he has come to this conclusion is a mystery given the financial data.
The agreement with the Chinese and French also sets up a wider UK partnership to develop new nuclear power stations at Sizewell and Bradwell. While they have reached Strategic Investment Agreements for all three plants, only Hinkley has a target date – it is supposed to start generating in 2025.
Apparently, the Bradwell project is also planned to include a Chinese-designed reactor. BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed says the final investment decision, which should largely be a formality, by EDF and CGN will now be taken in the next few weeks.
Is this good value for consumers? It will add £17 billion to the deficit or national debt depending on what line it’s parked on and impose £2 billion a year on household bills for a very long time, meanwhile, supporting Chinese and French state industries to pay for their pensioners and deficits. Let’s be clear, they would not be investing if there wasn’t a profit to be made.
Hinkley would be the most expensive power station in the world, costing a minimum of £24.5 billion project.
Stop Hinkley Spokesperson Allan Jeffrey said: “This is an extraordinarily bad deal, locking consumers into high prices (in fact double) until almost 2060. Worse still, it will use up most of the money available to subsidise non-fossil fuel energy leaving almost nothing available for renewables at a time when their costs are plummeting”.
The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) started off its press release in July by stating the intended measures of huge subsidy cuts were “to deal with a projected over-allocation of renewable energy subsidies.”. Sold by the government as a measure to reduce energy costs on hard working families – cynically, this subsidy has simply been moved to the nuclear deal. So we get nuclear instead of renewable at a far worse cost and considerably greater risk.
UK Security sources are so concerned about this deal, that unusually, they have gone public and expressed alarm at giving the People’s Republic of China (PRC) such intimate access to Britain’s energy infrastructure, warning the “UK could be rushing into an agreement with Beijing without considering the threats”.
“There is a big division between the money men and the security side,” a security source told the Times. “The Treasury is in the lead and it isn’t listening to anyone — they see China as an opportunity, but we see the threat.”
Osborne simply dispensed with any concerns as advised by security officials, despite critics claiming it could enable China to use “trapdoors or backdoors” which could allow them to gain control of the nuclear power plant in the event of an international dispute.
“No one else in Europe would cut this deal. America wouldn’t dream of letting China have such a part in its critical national infrastructure,” said government advisor Paul Dorfman of University College London’s Energy Institute. “The idea the UK is prepared to do so is, frankly, astounding,” he added.
daily alternative | alternative news – Britain’s Nuclear Deterrent, Nuclear Power Debacle