Government to offer subsidies to keep nuclear reactors open
In an abrupt U-turn, the British coalition government have announced plans to subsidise nuclear reactors and extend contracts with energy companies such as EDF from 20 years to 40 in an attempt to revitalise nuclear energy output in Britain.
Although back in 2010 the Prime Minister had promised not to offer subsidies to companies building nuclear reactors, reports on Tuesday suggested that the coalition government had changed their mind.
Indeed, according to both The Guardian and The Telegraph, companies such as EDF have been offered extended government contracts and guarantees to subsidise any market fluctuations in an attempt to secure funding for future nuclear reactors and keep energy prices below £100 per megawatt.
The government’s U-turn has been attributed to a series of setbacks they have faced in recent years regarding the building of new nuclear reactors.
Although in 2010 the government had maintained there would be no offers of subsidy unless the industry failed to secure any public backing. Following the Fukushima disaster and rising prices, companies willing to fund new nuclear reactors have been scarce.
Whilst some have criticised the length of the contracts in light of possible energy alternatives, the government has maintained the need to keep all energy options open.
According to The New Scientist, “nuclear reactors supply reliable power with low emissions, so are central to the government’s plans” .
Which companies will choose to accept the government’s offer and how this will affect the general public is yet to be fully announced.