Tidal energy plan sacrificed in dash for nuclear powerUnited Kingdom
Ben Webster, Environment Editor
Sellafield is one of the eight sites identified for development
Plans for eight new nuclear power stations received a significant boost today as the Government ruled out a proposal for the world’s biggest tidal energy scheme.
Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, approved two new designs for nuclear reactors and confirmed that the Government would cap the amount the owners of new nuclear power stations would have to pay to deal with radioactive waste.
Environmental groups argue that this is a hidden form of subsidy because the costs of disposing of the waste could far exceed the amount the companies will be required to pay.
Mr Huhne also said that the Government was willing to continue with a cap on the liability faced by nuclear companies in the event of an accident, currently set at £140 million. Electricity generated from nuclear plants will also qualify for a redesigned form of subsidy to be made available to all forms of renewable energy, including wind and solar.
Mr Huhne, a Liberal Democrat, opposed new nuclear power stations during the election campaign but since entering Government has joined the Conservatives in supporting them and said the first is likely to be built by 2018.
He claimed today that there would be no specific subsidy for new nuclear plants but the industry will be hearted by a softening of the Government’s language.
In a statement to Parliament, Mr Huhne said: “Arguably, few economic activities can be absolutely free of subsidy in some respect, given the wide ranging scope of state activity and the need to abide by international treaty obligations. Our ‘no subsidy’ policy will therefore need to be applied having regard to proportionality and materiality.”
The revised draft Nuclear National Policy Statement, published today, identifies eight sites potentially suitable for the deployment of new nuclear power stations by 2025: Bradwell, Essex; Hartlepool; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, South Gloucestershire.; Sellafield, Cumbria; Sizewell, Suffolk; Wylfa, Isle of Anglesey.
All of these sites are at or near existing nuclear power stations, most of which are nearing the end of their operating life.
The statement ruled out new nuclear plants by 2025 at Dungeness in Kent and Braystones and Kirksanton in Cumbria.
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