UK energy minister John Hayes told the House of Commons on Thursday that there will be no market support for nuclear power ‘unless similar support is also made available to other types of generation’.

His comments appear to indicate the possibility of nuclear power being granted access to subsidies under certain circumstances.

John Hayes

The minister’s comments are at odds with what energy secretary Ed Davey has said repeatedly on the subject.

As late as last Tuesday Mr Davey told the media at the announcement of Hitachi’s purchase of Horizon, that there would be no subsidy for nuclear. Instead Davey had pointed to the forthcoming energy bill as the key to investor confidence.

Mr. Hayes, however told the House that nuclear power would not receive specific government subsidy but could be eligible if other forms of electricity generation also benefited from the scheme.

According to the Guardian newspaper, Mr Hayes’s comments appear to back up a long-held suspicion that the government’s proposed scheme to offer a guaranteed minimum price for new low-carbon energy to encourage companies to build new capacity – known as Contracts for Difference – would become a backdoor subsidy for the expensive nuclear industry.


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