Anti-nuclear lobby calls for subsidies to be scrapped
Greenpeace has called for an end to nuclear subsidies and would like to see the funds channelled into the renewable sector instead, despite a glimmer of hope from troubled British Energy.The nuclear generator, which admits in its own material that three years ago it could be viewed as a 'basket case', has reported a post tax profit of £35 million for the last quarter and believes new CEO Bill Coley is steering the company out of troubled waters.
But Greenpeace argues it has still lost £325 million over the last year and government subsidies worth billions could be better spent on cleaner, cheaper sources of energy.
"It's been another disastrous year for British Energy," said Greenpeace campaigner Peter Roche.
"The company says it will focus on the performance of its existing nuclear reactors, rather than allowing itself to 'be distracted' by the debate about new nuclear stations.
"After the year it's had it should be focusing on safety, while planning on phasing out this decrepit technology.
"The government should accept that nuclear power has been a financial disaster and rule out building new stations in future.
"These huge taxpayer handouts could instead have been used to support clean renewable technologies that are ready to power our homes without risking environmental catastrophe."
British energy paints a rather different picture of its own fortunes, admitting on its website that three years ago it was on the brink of the abyss and close to going into receivership but that it is now back and has a real and viable future.
In an interview for the company's website in late July, Mr Coley acknowledged it faced a number of challenges but said he believed nuclear power was always going to be part of the energy mix of the UK, alongside coal, gas and renewables.
"I do not see how nations can continue to grow their economies and provide a good quality of life without having that as part of the mix," he said.
"I have one grandchild and another on the way and I think their lives will ultimately be impacted by whether or not nuclear is an option."
By Sam Bond