How very puzzling

All osrts of lefties keep telling us that interest rates are very low right now so the government should borrow to invest in infrastructure.

Very much the same group of lefties tell us that we must decarbonise the energy production system in this country.

The cost of nuclear power is almost entirely determined by the interest rates one must pay on the debt contracted to construct the plants.

So why aren\’t those lefties arguing that the government should borrow at very low rates to build the nuclear plants that would decarbonise the electricity production system?

All very puzzling really….

11 thoughts on “How very puzzling”

  1. Because of decades of conservative (not right-wing, but the unholy alliance of anti-science stone-age hippies and anti-science stone-age NIMBIES) trashing the concept of nuclear power, to the point where Monbiot almost had his green card (haha) revoked for saying the obvious about the necessity of another generation of fission plants. It pisses me off too.

  2. Because they all know deep down that oil and gas is where the money should be spent, especially on major construction projects and the managers that run them.

  3. I just about identify as a “lefty”, though I am a fellow pro-markets, pro-capitalism, pro-science, pro-*rationalism* kitten-fryer and baby-eater.

    And yes, for a long time, I’ve been saying that we should build nuclear power stations (at least since James Lovelock first came out in favour of ’em, if I recall). And if we were to indulge in a round of state-funded Keynesian stimulus, national energy infrastructure would strike me as one of the wisest, most long-lived types of projects we could spend the money on.

    It was probably the biggest single disagreement I had with Lib Dem policy for the short time I was an actual paid-up member.

    Of course, it’d be nice if we had the money in the bank from running a Keynesian surplus during the good times…

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    Alex B – “And yes, for a long time, I’ve been saying that we should build nuclear power stations (at least since James Lovelock first came out in favour of ‘em, if I recall).”

    We have different definitions of a long time. Still if Lovelock supports it, maybe it is not a good idea. This is the man who suggested a massive release of CFCs to combat global cooling.

    “And if we were to indulge in a round of state-funded Keynesian stimulus, national energy infrastructure would strike me as one of the wisest, most long-lived types of projects we could spend the money on.”

    Especially as it is easy to build nuclear power plants so that they can last. They ought to be on par with hydro installations that can produce for decades, even hundreds years. Once their initial cost has been paid off, future generations would have cheap power.

  5. Doesn’t the ban on ‘Government Subsidy’ by the EU have an effect on the UK government’s ability to borrow to finance this?

    Incidentally – heard on Radio 4 this morning – “the owners of the plants will get a guaranteed profit at the end of it;” rhetorical question: why don’t the owners put the money in instead of asking the energy customers…

  6. “The cost of nuclear power is almost entirely determined by the interest rates one must pay on the debt contracted to construct the plants.” Plus the construction costs themselves, determined in part by regulations some of which seem to be incompatible with medical and physical knowledge.

  7. “Doesn’t the ban on ‘Government Subsidy’ by the EU have an effect on the UK government’s ability to borrow to finance this?”

    No, because there isn’t a ban on ‘government subsidy’ by the EU, because that would be obviously ridiculous. Hence why we have things like trains and bin collections and motorways, rather than them having all been taken away by Brussels bureaucrats.

  8. No, because there isn’t a ban on ‘government subsidy’ by the EU, [..]

    .. so the rules mentioned here (and probably being abused by the Greens in the case of this article) are a figment of someone’s imagination then?

    While I accept ‘ban’ may have been too strong a word for what I was thinking about – there appear to be some rules there that would preclude the UK Government simply borrowing the money and using that without going through at least ‘a few’ European bureaucratic hoops?

  9. Luke,

    Monbiot saw the light regarding nuclear power about six months ago IIRC. He’s still in darkness on everything else, though.

  10. The rules are that a government can’t give money to a company for the hell of it. They’re allowed to give money for a company to provide a service/public good/etc. And yes, the Green complaint is utterly spurious.

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