MPs have been given what has been branded ‘persuasive evidence’ that the government’s enthusiasm for civilian nuclear power is in part to do with the cross-subsidy it generates for the UK’s nuclear weapons industry.
Researchers from the University of Sussex, who presented their findings to the Business Select Committee, showed how the government is, in effect, forcing householders to pay higher energy bills to fund nuclear power because of the way it supports the civil nuclear infrastructure required by firms working on nuclear weapons submarines.
This can be seen clearly in the case of Rolls Royce – who make the nuclear reactors for Britain’s Trident submarines – when they pressed the government to agree to develop small module reactors for civilian power generation.
The cost of nuclear power remains staggeringly high in the UK, with bill-payers lumped with a £92.50 per megawatt hour charge for energy from the UK’s new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point compared to just £55 from offshore wind farms. In addition, three new nuclear power plant builds were suspended recently as investors cited out of control construction costs. Despite this, the government remains committed to nuclear power.
The evidence presented by the Sussex University academics which, in their words, shows ‘the costs of maintaining nuclear submarine capabilities are insupportable without parallel consumer-funded civil nuclear infrastructures’ makes a compelling argument that energy policy doesn’t necessarily put the needs of consumers first.
It’s clearer than ever that we must end the production of nuclear power to aid in the fight against nuclear weapons.
- Sign our no to nuclear power petition to halt the production of this dangerous and dirty energy source and remove support for the UK’s nuclear weapons system, Trident.
- Read more about the links between nuclear power and nuclear weapons