Stephen Tromans QC has published an important article dealing with the issue of state support for the development of new nuclear power stations, published in a special issue of the Oxford University Press journal, The Journal of World Energy Law & Business, jwy035.
State support in one form or another has been necessary throughout the history of nuclear power station construction, both for political reasons and as a matter of economic necessity. This article considers various forms of state support, by reference to four contrasting jurisdictions: the UK, France, the USA and China. Of these, with the exception of China, new nuclear projects are struggling to varying degrees, despite support by the state. In China, new build is surging forward, coupled with an expansionist policy internationally. In all jurisdictions, the picture is however complicated. In both the USA and China, there is no coherent national approach, with conflicting regional or state policies. France has a very strong national framework, but this is at present not delivering the continued strength in nuclear power which characterized its history. The UK is desperately trying to achieve new build without the state directly taking on risk, but at great risk to future electricity consumers. The nature of new nuclear power stations is that, at least until they are up and running, they are risky propositions for investors. At present, the market seems unwilling to take that risk. Therefore, if a state desires a strong civil nuclear capability, whether for economic, political or energy security reasons, it will have to provide inducements for the development of new nuclear power stations. In reality this will have to involve risk to either taxpayers or electricity consumers.
To view full article, please click here.