Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 October 2013

Big business lines its pockets from nuclear power bonanza

Pete Mason

You want generous, guaranteed energy prices, fixed for 35 years? No problem if you own a French or Chinese multinational company. Bad luck if you're an ordinary consumer.

Prime Minister David Cameron has 'kick-started' the nuclear industry with a big boost for the profits of French company EDF and two Chinese corporations who will build a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Meanwhile the situation in Fukushima, where Japanese nuclear power stations were destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami over two years ago, seems to worsen.

Guaranteed profits

This government condemned Labour leader Ed Miliband for threatening to freeze consumers' sky-high energy prices for just 20 months. The energy companies reacted by holding the country to ransom, threatening blackouts and the loss of thousands of jobs in the energy industry, and then announced price rises of around 10% just weeks later.

Yet the government has negotiated 35 years of guaranteed profits to big business, promising the energy companies they can sell the electricity they produce at Hinkley at double the current wholesale market rate - the rate at which power generators sell their power to the energy suppliers.

This huge subsidy will come out of our pockets through higher energy bills once the plant is running.

Massive subsidies have always been handed to the nuclear industry to cover the exorbitant costs of nuclear power, the extreme danger posed by nuclear reactors, and the unsolved problem of decommissioning nuclear waste - successive government's covert goal was always to facilitate nuclear weapons production.

Nuclear energy is promoted as a low carbon alternative yet the dangers of Fukushima and nuclear waste show this is no alternative.

After the opulent profits and rich dividends have been extracted by owners and 'investors' all along the production chain, the fat-cat energy suppliers retail the electricity to us, the consumer, and we pick up the final bill.

Centrica, the corporate name of the former British Gas Corporation privatised by Margaret Thatcher in 1986, greedily demanded a higher subsidy than the Chinese and French corporations, so they lost out.

The Hinkley Point winners EDF and the Chinese corporations are state owned. All are run like voracious capitalist companies, but state-subsidised in order to grab a bigger slice of the world market.

If the last Labour government under the then energy minister Ed Miliband had renationalised the energy industry, the government would have had complete control over the situation from the start. But the Labour leadership rejects re-nationalisation.

National plan

A state-owned energy industry could immediately plan to convert the country to solar, wind and tidal power supplies.

A national plan could be drawn up, a scaled-up version of the ten-year plan implemented by the then nationalised British Gas in 1967-77, when a huge army of engineers efficiently converted 40 million appliances and 13 million gas customers from dirty coal gas to North Sea gas.

Energy minister Ed Davey warns that gas prices can only go up, so we'd better be glad we're paying extra for nuclear, or else 'we'll all be in trouble'. This contradicts all the recent government lies about fracking bringing endless cheap energy, lies which were also followed by generous tax subsidies offered to fracking companies!

The cost of energy from coal, oil, gas and nuclear is not only to be calculated in the inflated subsidies and the huge bills we receive, but in the incalculable cost to the environment in which we live and suffer the consequences.

By any long-term measure, carbon-free green energy is far cheaper. It is short-term profit and insatiable competition between capitalist nations which prevents the harvesting of the free resources of the sun, wind and tides and instead chains us to escalating energy bills, soot, smoke and the ever-present danger of nuclear radiation.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 23 October 2013:

Socialist Party news and analysis

It's a robbery not a 'recovery'

Build a no-cuts political alternative

Hypocritical Hunt blames families for care scandal

Government policies - 'deeply divisive'

Big business lines its pockets from nuclear power

Them & Us

Socialist Party feature

Energy for the millions ...not the millionaires

International socialist news and analysis

France: Deep malaise marks 'la rentrée'

Tunisia: Left-wing rapper, Klay BBJ, acquitted on appeal

Socialist Party workplace news

Overwhelming support for teachers' strike in the south and north

Postal workers go into battle

Grangemouth: a fight we can't afford to lose

PCS strike in DWP and DEFRA Shared Services

Probation officers vote for strike action

What role can trade unions play in fighting welfare attacks?

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Campaign victory for rebel councillors as local pool to be re-opened

We need action against zero-hour contracts

TUSC candidates stand up against austerity

200 say 'Tequila's got to go!'

Swansea socialists oppose National Front

Turn anger into action: join the socialists


Home   |   The Socialist 23 October 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:

Nuclear power:

triangleJapan - toxic legacy of the Fukushima disaster

triangleFukushima nuclear disaster - a terrifying legacy

triangleByelections: Break with Labour Blairism wasn't on offer

triangleHinkley Point C: wasteful, dangerous and polluting

Big business:

triangleMay's EU speech kicks the can down the road

triangleNHS: public health - not private profit

trianglePortsmouth Socialist Party: How can the NHS be defended from the Tories?

triangleTory infighting escalates - workers' action can oust them


triangleDerbyshire says: No fracking way!

triangleMovement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangleCourt maintains injunction against fracking protesters


triangleBristol South Socialist Party: How can workers' jobs be protected?

triangleMovement challenges Iranian regime


triangleRussia, spies and nerve agents


triangleAnti-fracking campaigners' legal fight


triangleMay's silence is a green light for Chinese repression

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Russia, spies and nerve agents



Zero new homes 'affordable' in Blairite Manchester



Spring Statement 2018: Tory austerity staggers on despite economic and political weakness


What we saw

What we saw



Sainsbury's raise really a cut: fight for £10 with no strings!



Profits up Wages down



Determined UCU strikers: We're out to win!



Capitalism oppresses women - fight for socialism!


Them & Us

Them & Us



Women's oppression: the struggle goes on



Snow chaos showed the bosses' coldness - but also workers' grit



May's EU speech kicks the can down the road



Toys R Us, Maplin: worsening retail crisis claims more jobs



Corbyn's customs union dividing line: now stand firm for pro-worker Brexit



Corbynism shows 'Clause IV' still relevant a hundred years on

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018