Gargantuan sums of money, yes. But then so are the promises being doled out to renewables. What’s really interesting though is the form:
Under the proposed funding system, called contracts for difference, companies such as EDF that build and operate nuclear reactors would be guaranteed a minimum “strike” price for the energy they generate.
If the market price falls below this strike price, the difference will be made up by a surcharge on customer bills; if the market price rises higher then the generator will have to refund the difference.
The point being that this is exactly what Peter Hain is calling for over the Severn Barrage. Which he insists is not a government subsidy at all of course. And it’s only a minor difference of form from the subsidies that renewables get….the minor difference being that renewables don’t have to cough up if prices rise above their guaranteed price.
All of which leads to an interesting conclusion.
We who don’t think that any of them should get subsidy are still being logically consistent. No one should be getting those subsidies. If climate change really is a problem then whack on a carbon tax and may the best man win.
But those who think that such guaranteed prices are just fine face a logical problem. This nuclear subsidy is structured in very much the same manner as renewables subsidies. Rather tougher than them in fact. So there’s no, if anyone is going to consistent, argument against such subsidies.