The Government's Nuclear Review 1995
In 1989, while the British government was making decisions on the privatisation
of the electricity sector, it became clear that it would not be possible
to incorporate nuclear power stations in the privatisation process.
Nuclear generated electricity turned out to be at least twice as expensive
as figures on public record had suggested until then. Also, liabilities
for waste management and dismantling stayed highly uncertain. In 1989
the Government held a moratorium on any decision to build new nuclear
power plants, until 1994 and until a review of the whole nuclear power
sector had been undertaken. This review, which was carried out by the
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Scottish Office Industry
Department, in consultation with other Government Departments, was completed
in May 1995.
Concerning the potential effect of nuclear power on global climate
change, the Government concluded that there was "no evidence to support
the view that new nuclear power build is needed in the near future on
emissions abatement grounds". The Government stated in addition that
providing public sector funds for the construction of new nuclear power
stations could "not be justified on the grounds of wider economic benefits
and would not, therefore, be in the best interests of either electricity
consumers or the taxpayer". The nuclear review therefore prolonged the
1989 moratorium on new nuclear power financed by the public sector.
No private electricity operator seems interested in nuclear power while
investment in gas stations is massive. The UK is thus drifting towards
a "natural" nuclear phase-out beginning early next century with the
end of the operating lifetime of existing nuclear power plants.
to contents To