Ritchie criticises nuclear subsidies plan

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Friday, October 24th, 2014
SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie has criticised the European Commission’s Decision to approve the construction of a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point on the West Coast of England. The Commission were reviewing the financing plan for the new plant to determine if it met state aid rules. Speaking following the announcement Ritchie stated, “This plant will be only 240 kilometres from the Irish coast and I fear it will pave the way for a new plant at Sellafield just across the Irish Sea from my own constituency. “The decision to give the green light to another round of nuclear spending is of great concern as it represents the first time that the European Commission has approved significant state aid for a new nuclear power plant. “It gives the UK government the go ahead to grant massive public subsidies to the nuclear industry at a time when we should be concentrating on supporting truly renewable sources of power. “The nuclear industry will receive a publically funded “strike price” that is almost twice the amount of the current cost of energy, along with a £10bn guarantee for construction at the site. “That the government has had to bend over backwards to get EDF to go ahead with this plant shows that there is no sound economic basis for nuclear power. “That this decision went to a vote in the Commission shows that there was a significant level of dissent, with reports that up to five commissioners voted against the proposal including Austria. “The legacy of the previous nuclear power programme has been disastrous, as these plants continue to cost the taxpayer enormous sums of money as they are decommissioned. Over half of the total Department of Energy and Climate Change’s budget goes towards winding down these toxic legacies. “This announcement comes on the same day as an oil platform in the North Sea had to be evacuated as a ship carrying nuclear waste drifted towards it, highlighting that nuclear power can never be made entirely safe. Ritchie added, ““The UK government’s decision to commit to massive public subsidies for the nuclear industry will come at the cost of a meaningful green energy agenda and it is regrettable that the European Commission have waved this through.”
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