At Comment is Free today, Simon Hughes (Liberal Democrat shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change) challenges the Tories over their “incoherent” new energy policy and calls for greater investment in renewable energy:
Nuclear power has always required huge amounts of public money and David Cameron’s signal that the Tories are ready to turn on the taps of taxpayer support risks billions which we simply can’t afford. Both Labour and the Tories claim that they will not provide any public subsidy, but both know that this cannot be true when the nuclear industry that has never been able to survive without it.
Like the banks, new nuclear is too big to fail. And like the banks, new nuclear depends on a more or less explicit taxpayer guarantee. Once a nuclear power station is running we will have it for the next 40 years, come what may. No responsible government could ever let a nuclear power generator go bankrupt. This has happened before, when the taxpayer had to bail out British Energy £10bn and accept £73bn of their liabilities. As my colleague Vince Cable has said, nuclear power is the Royal Bank of Scotland of the energy industry.
Read the full piece at the Guardian.