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France’s Nuclear Blackmail: £70 Billion Subsidies Extra Or No New Plants

Families and businesses are being asked to find an extra £2.8 billion a year for the next 25 years by EDF Energy as the price of rescuing Britain’s faltering nuclear power programme.

The Times has learnt that the French state-backed energy giant will not build two new reactors in Somerset without huge subsidies, paid for through fixed levies on the electricity bills of consumers and businesses for decades to come.

The company has begun talks with the Department of Energy and Climate Change about its planned £14 billion Hinkley Point nuclear plant and intends to decide at the end of the year whether to go ahead.

Under the Government’s electricity market reforms, low-carbon generators will earn more than the market rate for electricity to make it economic to build nuclear plants and offshore wind farms.

According to well-placed industry sources, EDF Energy has told officials that it needs about £165 per megawatt hour, almost four times the existing wholesale price of electricity, if it is to go ahead with Hinkley Point.

City analysts said that the additional cost of building these two reactors at such a heavily subsidised rate, rather than, for example, cheaper gas-fired plants, would be £68 billion over 25 years, or an average of about £50 extra a year on every household bill. Businesses would be face an even bigger charge.

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see also: Nuclear Blackmail: More Subsidies Or Forget New Plants