Nuke bailout

The UK Department of Trade and Industry has announced new legislation which will allow the Government to transfer the costs incurred by British Energy in dealing with nuclear waste onto the tax payer.

The UK Department of Trade and Industry yesterday announced new legislation which will allow the Government to transfer the costs incurred by British Energy in dealing with nuclear waste onto the tax payer.

British Energy is in financial crisis and has already received a £650 million emergency loan from the Government. The company is holding an extraordinary general meeting on Tuesday 14th January 2003.

The Government’s Bill will provide ‘parliamentary authority for Government to incur expenditure on British Energy or on acquiring British Energy companies or their assets’ as well as amending the Electricity Act 1989 and repealing Part II of the Act.

This will mean the taxpayer is effectively providing a £3 billion bailout for British Energy. Sometime, this spring, the Government is due to publish another bill to load the UK taxpayer with almost £4 billion of liabilities from British Nuclear Fuels, Britain’s other nuclear generator. All in all, the nuclear industry will be getting a £7 billion subsidy, according to Friends of the Earth.

Commenting, Friends of the Earth nuclear campaigner Roger Higman said: ‘This Bill paves the way for British Energy to fob the costs of dealing with its nuclear waste onto the tax-payer. It is a £3 billion back-door payment to nuclear power. It shows yet again that nuclear power is a financial as well as an environmental disaster. The sooner we join Germany, Spain, Holland, Belgium and Sweden in phasing out nuclear power the better.’