Following expert claims that energy bills in the UK have been inflated to subsidise the Trident nuclear deterrent, SNP MP says: “The Tory government can’t be trusted to come clean”
- Commons Committee told that maintaining nuclear submarine capabilities is “insupportable” with consumer-funded civil nuclear infrastructures
- New evidence follows controversy over high cost of energy produced by the UK Government’s Hinkley nuclear project
- SNP MP Drew Hendry calls on Tories to abandon their “nuclear obsession” and back Scotland’s “green revolution”
THE SNP has called for an urgent inquiry into links between British nuclear energy and defence, following expert claims that UK energy bills may have been inflated to subsidise the Trident nuclear deterrent.
Addressing MPs on the Business Select Committee, Professor Andy Stirling from the University of Sussex argued: “It is clear that the costs of maintaining nuclear submarine capabilities are insupportable without parallel consumer-funded civil nuclear infrastructures.
“The accelerating competitiveness of renewable energy and declining viability of nuclear power are making this continuing dependency increasingly difficult to conceal.”
Prof Stirling and other experts also expressed their opinion that nuclear power is prohibitively expensive, and should be scrapped in favour of cheaper renewable energy sources.
The committee was also told that the UK Government should be frank about the inter-dependence of the civilian nuclear programme and the nuclear defence industry.
“The Tory government can’t be trusted to come clean on the link between their ridiculously expensive nuclear energy ventures and the subsidy for immoral nuclear weapons. It’s clear that an urgent inquiry is needed.” SNP MP Drew Hendry
The SNP has argued the evidence put before MPs raises questions about the UK Government’s “disastrous” Hinkley nuclear project – the energy costs of which are significantly higher than offshore wind (£92.5/MWH compared to £57.50/MWH) – as well as the possible subsidy of “immoral” weapons of mass destruction.
SNP MP Drew Hendry, who sits on the Commons Committee, said: “The Tory government can’t be trusted to come clean on the link between their ridiculously expensive nuclear energy ventures and the subsidy for immoral nuclear weapons. It’s clear that an urgent inquiry is needed to get to the bottom of this mess.
“When conventional forces are struggling to be properly funded, particularly in Scotland where we face further base closures, the UK government continues to splurge more than £2.2 billion on nuclear weapons every year, and £205 billion over its lifetime.
“Having cut support for renewables and abandoned Peterhead by pulling vital carbon capture and storage funding, it is high time the Tories abandon their nuclear obsession and support Scotland’s green revolution.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) responded: "We believe having a diverse energy mix is the best way of ensuing energy security while allowing us to meet our climate commitments.
"Nuclear has an important role to play as we transition to a low-carbon economy, but as with any technology, it must represent good value for money for the taxpayer and consumer."
The Commons Committee is expected to release the full evidence presented to them in the coming days, ahead of a wider discussion of the UK’s arguable need for nuclear power to achieve energy security.
Prof Stirling added that the issue of inter-dependence between nuclear weapons and nuclear energy has addressed more openly in the United States, where the former US Energy Secretary and nuclear scientist Ernest Moniz commented in 2017: “A strong domestic (nuclear) supply chain is needed to provide for Navy requirements. This has a very strong overlap with commercial nuclear energy.”
Prof Stirling told BBC News: "We need this sort of transparency in the UK."
The UK Government is expected to publish a new energy white paper shortly, detailing how the UK will maintain the supply of electricity during the transition to a zero carbon economy.
Picture courtesy of Steven Jones