Nuclear is dying – without taxpayer subsidies:
The Battle to keep climate financing mechanisms Nuclear-free
Nuclear power projects have always relied on a complex web of direct and indirect taxpayer subsidies such as tax breaks (in many countries there was/is no tax on nuclear fuel), a cap on liabilities in case of accidents (i. e. the taxpayer foots the bill, as in Chernobyl and Fukushima) – and the general public is picking up the staggering cost overruns of the unsolved nuclear waste storage.
Nuclear energy can’t compete with cheap Renewables (www.dont-nuke-the-climate.org/faq) – without public subsidies, nuclear is an outdated technology of the last century that no bank or utility is willing to invest in any more. In order to get to these subsidies – again –, nuclear is now trying to portray itself as “green”, as climate friendly, CO2-neutral (which it is not, see FAQs at www.dont-nuke-the-climate.org/faq) – as a solution to climate change. This is a false solution: nuclear is also contaminating the environment and destroying water resources for uranium extraction and the permanent storage of radioactive waste, first and foremost impacting First Nations and people’s of colour, which is unacceptable from the climate justice perspective.
Public subsidies in particular in connection with the international effort to combat climate change are first and foremost meant to support the just transition of the energy system towards energy savings and renewables in countries of the Global South that are most impacted by the catastrophic effects global warming (mitigation). They are also needed to help these countries to finance infrastructure and projects to cope with the impacts of climate change (adaptation).
The “Green Climate Fund”, a fund within the framework of the UNFCCC, was set up following the Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009 in order to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter global warming. The aim is to raise 100 billion US-Dollars per year by 2020, thus creating a major pot of public money that has immediately attracted attention by proponents of false solutions:
The nuclear lobby has recognized this one fund among many public funds and subsidy mechanisms that they explicitly aim to target in order to prop up their uncompetitive technology, as stated directly in the Foratom lobby paper for the Paris 2015 Climate Conference:
“We therefore call on negotiators involved in the Paris climate talks to ensure that the right of countries to choose nuclear energy in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while meeting their energy and development objectives is not prejudiced against in any way by the new UNFCCC protocols, specifically with regards to access to climate funding mechanisms such as Green Climate Funds.” (Nuclear for Climate, Nuclear is Part of the Solution for Fighting Climate Change, 5.11.15)
This point of view is reiterated for example by the pro-nuclear International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA (“Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2016”) and is being pushed since COP 22 (Marrakesh) especially by the Russian nuclear establishment for lobby work to get public support/money for their projects.
In the case of the Green Climate Fund, the decision-making process is simple: The 24 board members – equally drawn from developed and developing countries – have each the right to veto projects that are proposed for funding.
No nuclear project has been put forward for approval – yet. But with public money / state aid granted for nuclear projects in the UK (Hinkley Point) and Hungary (Paks II), it will be a mere matter of time before the nuclear lobby advances concrete projects to these sources of funding.
We must not let nuclear take away the much needed resources from the Green Climate Fund and other public funds that are meant for climate change adaptation and mitigation – these funds are needed to guarantee the survival of people and societies while global warming progresses. We call on all members of the international funds and bodies to reject these blatant attempts of a false solution to cynically get access to taxpayer money.