Plea to Chancellor on nuclear power

Bicester Advertiser: The development of nuclear power could be met without taxpayer subsidy, claims a pro-nuclear pressure group The development of nuclear power could be met without taxpayer subsidy, claims a pro-nuclear pressure group

Chancellor George Osborne has been urged to make arrangements to allow the development of nuclear power "on the basis of real needs".

The call comes from Sir William McAlpine, chairman of the pressure group Supporters of Nuclear Energy (SONE).

Sir William claimed that these needs could be met without subsidy - that is without eventual cost to the consumer or taxpayer - by arrangements to ease the heavy initial capital outlay.

In a letter to the Chancellor, Sir William said that SONE did not believe that energy policy as at present conceived was giving or could give value for money.

He said: "Our immediate concern is the negotiation over a 'strike price' - the value of a subsidy - for reputedly low carbon sources of electricity."

He said that "strike price" negotiation was anything but transparent. And the outcome of such a negotiation would saddle householders and businesses for a long time to come with further costs since the subsidy for low carbon power was to be financed by the consumer.

He added: "This lack of transparency is manifestly unfair and perverse, especially at a time of straitened national finances when growth and jobs are urgently sought."

Sir William said they calculated that two 1600MW reactors operating at 90% efficiency over a 50-year lifespan could generate very large returns on a £14 billion capital outlay.

He said: "In short, we do not believe that the consumer, including businesses trying to keep their heads above water, should have to pay through the nose for a 'strike price' subsidy system which seems to have very little justification.

"Nuclear should be developed on the basis of its real needs. Common sense suggests that these could be met without subsidy by arrangements to ease the heavy initial capital outlay."

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