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Sunday, April 19, 2009


In Thursday night on Newsnight Scotland Bill Kidd the SNP MSP stated that nuclear was the most expensive way of manufacturing electricity. In fact it is the cheapest, though it may share the title with large scale use of the cheaper sorts of imported coal. Nuclear electricity is currently being produced in France at 1.7p a unit. This is a simple statement of fact. By comparison the Scottish wind industry hopes to get their supply costs down from 9p to 8p a unit though the subsidy of 5.5p for the Renewable Obligation Certificate is on top of that.

We are used to politicians havverings, misleading statements, evasions, snowjobs & shadings of the truth but Mr Kidd could not have been more dishonest if he had said that black is white. I hope, on reconsideration he will apologise for this lie or at the very worst his party will dissociate themselves from it. There may be a legitimate argument against inexpensive nuclear power but it should be put honestly & let the people decide. It may be that we need political honesty as much as we need to prevent the lights going out.

Reference - French nuclear cost, given in cents

Video here - interview is about 2/3rds of the way through - his lie near the end.

I did email Messrs Kidd, Salmond & the party HQ first but none of them responded. I then sent this as a letter to various newspapers but it appears none of the published it.

It is an important matter that not merely Bill Kidd as an MEP but the SNP as a party have decided that they do not possess any respect whatsoever for the facts & will tell any lie without compunction. Doesn't make them as bad as the mass murderers of the Labour, Lib Dem & Conservative parties but it is still very unfortunate.

UPDATE I am very pleased to see that this letter has been published in full in the Herald today. I will report if Mr Kidd or any SNP representative replies & what line they take.

UPDATE Saturday 25th. On Wednesday there were a couple of letters referring to mine. One of them said my 1.7p a unit figure was wrong. Today my simple reply was published.
Bill Robertson (Letters, April 22) quotes figures some 50% greater than the 1.7p a unit for nuclear electricity I gave in my letter (April 20), though he was using the same World Nuclear Association site as I used.

The figures given there are in cents and I converted them to pence. Mr Robertson has taken the figure in cents and written it as being in pence.
An unfortunate lapse by Mr Robertson & I take little pleasure in thus proving I have the facts. It would have been enjoyable if Bill Kidd or indeed any SNP spokesman had been willing to come out & play but clearly they were frit.

Hi Neil.

Does this factor in the £1.5bn a year of clean up costs under nuclear? I think that's the going rate for Sellafield at the moment.

That said, it's a fair point you have. I don't know much of the detail but I always had nuclear down as the cheapest option, my personal reservations with it lie elsewhere.

I still don't see why we can't have Scotland focussing on renewables and England/Wales focussing on nuclear.

Spread the risk and reward a bit, isn't that one of the lessons of the credit crunch?
If France can do it with sensible clean up costs so can we. I remember somebody on a newspaper comment saying that when he worked on cleaning up Dounreay they brought in chalk chips because granite chips would have been too radioactive. It is, of course, always possible to inflate the cost of anything by any amount but real clean up costs are not a problem. Indeed since new reactors are built with dismantlying in mind they will be even lower.

My lesson from the recession is that if the actual, as opposed to paper part of your economy is built on power that cost 3 times what it does in China (& other regulatory costs) then eventually your economy is going to piss off to China. If we go for renewables & England for nuclear we will see what remains of our productive economy depart as well.

It need not be that way - Scotland has the world's best scientists per capita (possibly excluding Switzerland) & we could have a very productive economy indeed if the SNP honestly wanted one.
Cleanup costs in France are lower because they have the good sense to ignore environmentalists when they see fit. France torpedoed the Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior when it intruded into a French nuclear weapons test site. I don't know if France will maintain this level headedness now that it is rejoining NATO.
I think they will. They are only rejoining NATO because it has become a talking shop with no real role. The French have a respect for their own national self interest we could all emulate.
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