Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Nuclear Energy - British Energy

From the Economist 'Hot Property' (22-Mar.)

British Energy, who provides roughly 1/6 of Britian's energy, (8 nuclear and 1 coal) announced that it is looking for a partnership or even take-over.
British Energy has been plagued by financial troubles in the past and has a desperate need (and desire) to build new plants.
Convienently, John Hutton, Britain's business secretary, recently called for an increase in energy supply from nuclear sources and the easiest place to build a new nuclear power plant . . . . is next to an old one where the land already exists and local support is high (because employment from nuclear already exists).

However, unlike the United States where nuclear plants are heavily subsidized (contrary to todays class lecture) the UK has long insisted that the private sector pay for their plants. Major suitors include France's EDF, and Germany's E.ON and RWE, all of whom are already operating in Britain.

1 comment:

jason h said...

Could you expand on the nuclear subsidies issue?

I may have a different view of subsidies, but from what I understand,
Commercial nuclear plants purchase gov't backed insurance, and pay for Yucca mountain through a "waste tax" (the tax does need to be adjusted for inflation). The industry does receive R&D grants from the DOE which are comparable to spending on renewable energy and clean coal. There are also "first mover" production incentives to try to encourage new plant construction. However, existing nuclear power plants get no production tax incentives.