Nuclear power and nationalisation are not the answer to cost of living crisis.
I am sure you have noticed the rising cost of energy in recent weeks. A lot of politicians have been arguing for an expansion of nuclear power and nationalisation of the energy companies. I am a personal trainer and part time commercial energy broker. Here let me detail why both are nonsense proposals. I also detail far better solutions.
In the UK the energy companies were privatised in the late 1980s and are no longer owned by the government. Nuclear power was removed from privatisation largely because nuclear power was uneconomic. (2)
Recently a governmental e-petition calling for the nationalisation of the UK energy companies hit the 100,000 threshold to be listed for parliamentary debate (3.) Very recently Boris Johnson the former UK Prime Minister announced an expansion in the UK’s nuclear energy program (4.)
Indeed, former UK Prime Minister Theresa May asked Kier Starmer that question in parliament (5).
Indeed, the leader of the opposition has suggested at his party conference that he would start up a publicly owned energy company to cut bills (6.)
Let’s look at this.
According to the House of Lords website (7) there are 8 nuclear power stations in the UK providing 16% of our electricity. That means on average they are producing 2% each. So, logic dictates that to cater for all our energy needs we need 50 nuclear power stations- another 42.
According to Reuters (8) the cost of Hinckley B has surpassed £29 billion so it’s fair to say that a nuclear power station would cost around £20 billion per station.
So, in other words we need to spend £20 billion per station x 42 stations which works out at £840 billion.
According to the UK government’s website the UK governmental income is £916 billion a year (9.) So, if the energy companies came under public control then it would result in a doubling of the UK tax bill. In other words, you’d pay double your taxes both income taxes and value added tax.
That doesn’t take into account the cost of nationalising the energy companies.
It takes 5 years to build a nuclear power station so does Joe Public want to pay today’s higher than average energy prices for the next 5 years?
The environmental problems associated with energy prices will get worse.
The cancer cluster issue associated with nuclear power stations will get worse. It is unclear if nuclear power stations do cause an increased risk of cancers however if they do then the number of these cancers will no doubt rise.
Nuclear waste can exist for many hundreds of years and there is the issue of storage and disposal of such waste.
The risk of nuclear disasters such as 3 Mile Island and Chernobyl will worsen with increased number of nuclear power stations.
Then there is the risk of increased terrorism. All a terrorist has to do is find a way to bomb a nuclear installation and we’ve had it.
So, what is the alternative?
1. Massive energy conservation.
2. Expansion in other sources of energy.
I am a part time commercial energy broker. I can tell you that if we all stopped leaving our TVs on standby overnight then over a year we can save the output of one power station.
In the USA under President Trump energy companies gave free energy surveys to domestic customers. If you upgraded inefficient equipment e.g., a refrigerator from an inefficient one to a more efficient one you got a $100 credit to your bill with interest free loans.
The reason being that it was cheaper for energy companies to do this than it was to build more power stations.
The USA equivalent of corporation tax is 20%. Companies were given 500% tax relief to buy energy efficient equipment. For example, if you ran a restaurant and you had an inefficient refrigerator and a new one cost $200. You’d get tax relief on $1000. The corporation tax on $1000 was $200 so it would work out free. It would be cheaper to upgrade than to pay taxes.
Sadly, President Biden reversed that. We need such policies worldwide.
Now in the UK it’s relatively uncommon to see a roof with solar panels on. The main reason is cost. The UK government had the feed in tariff scheme. The feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme offered cash payments to households that produced their own electricity using renewable technologies, such as solar PV panels or wind turbines.
The way it works is that your home draws of electricity from the solar panels and any excess is put onto the national grid and you got the feed in tariff. Without the feed in tariff you do benefit from lower bills. However with the feed in tariff it’s quicker to recoup the money spent on installation.
The scheme closed to new applicants at the end of March 2019 (10.) If every home in the UK had solar panels then it would cut our carbon footprint. It would save the cost of building more power stations. It would also cut people’s bills.
In conclusion the suggested policies of nationalisation of energy companies and expansion of nuclear power are ill thought out and very expensive. It is cheaper and quicker to find alternative sources of energy and start a massive campaign of energy conservation.
My energy saving guide showing how I cut my 12 month dual fuel monthly budget plan from £161.45 per month to £68 per month using low cost and no cost energy saving measures. http://www.endheatoreat.co.uk
Frequently asked questions
“You are a fitness trainer why are you doing this?”
The number cause of obesity is poverty (11). The 2nd commonest reason for people not to hire me is because they can’t afford me so I save them money on their bills so they can afford me. Lastly every January people have new year’s resolutions to get into shape but they’ve spent so much money over the festive period they can’t do much until payday at the end of January and then they’ve lost the enthusiasm.
- How much nuclear power does the UK use and is it safe? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-59212992
2. Nuclear Privatisation Research Paper 96/3 15 January 1996 https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/RP96-3/RP96-3.pdf
3. Nationalise Energy Companies https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/608056
4. Boris Johnson plans vast nuclear energy expansion but waters down onshore wind ambitions https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/boris-johnson-nuclear-energy-expansion-onshore-wind-ambitions-1561194
5. Keir Starmer responds to MP Theresa May on why Labour didn’t build nuclear capacity to ‘prepare’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE2mrdJ0OAk
6. Labour pledges to create publicly owned energy company to ‘cut bills and create jobs’ https://news.sky.com/story/labour-pledges-to-create-publicly-owned-energy-company-to-cut-bills-and-create-jobs-12706291
7. Status of nuclear power in the UK https://lordslibrary.parliament.uk/nuclear-power-in-the-uk/#:~:text=In%202020%2C%2016%25%20of%20the,of%20planned%20or%20unplanned%20shutdowns.
8. EDF to announce new cost increase, delay for Hinkley Point nuclear plant https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/edf-announce-new-cost-increase-delay-hinkley-point-nuclear-plant-2022-03-28/
9. Public sector current receipts 2021/22: £916 billion https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8513/CBP-8513.pdf
10. What was the feed-in tariff? https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/feed-in-tariffs/article/feed-in-tariffs/what-was-the-feed-in-tariff-aAsa36S95iJy
11. The number one cause of obesity https://jamesbondhealthandfitness.co.uk/the-number-one-cause-of-obesity/
Date checked in all articles 3rd October 2022.