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Harrabin Promotes Eco-Loon’s “Subsidising Submarines” Claims

June 7, 2019

By Paul Homewood


h/t Joe Public



Today’s dose of misinformation from the renewable industry’s cheerleader:



Energy bills in the UK are inflated partly because households are subsidising nuclear submarines, MPs have been told.

Experts think one government motive for backing civilian nuclear power is to cross-subsidise the defence industry.

They say nuclear power is so expensive that it should be scrapped in favour of much cheaper renewable energy.

Others argue that nuclear still plays a key role in keeping on the lights, so the military aspect is not significant.

But in evidence to MPs on the Business Select Committee, researchers from the University of Sussex said the government should be frank about the inter-dependence of the civilian nuclear programme and the nuclear defence industry.

Supply chain

Prof Andy Stirling from Sussex argues that one reason the government is willing to burden householders with the expense of nuclear energy is because it underpins the supply chain and skills base for firms such as Rolls Royce and Babcock that work on nuclear submarines.

He said: “It is clear that the costs of maintaining nuclear submarine capabilities are insupportable without parallel consumer-funded civil nuclear infrastructures.

“The accelerating competitiveness of renewable energy and declining viability of nuclear power are making this continuing dependency increasingly difficult to conceal.”

The debate has taken on greater significance as the true costs of nuclear power have been revealed.

It was once forecast that nuclear energy would be too cheap to meter. But it’s clear now that bill-payers will give price support to the Hinkley Point C nuclear station at a cost of £92.50 per megawatt hour, compared with £55 for offshore wind.


What Harrabin forgot to tell you is that when the Hinkley Point contract was being drawn up in 2015, the cost of offshore wind was much greater than the price agreed for Hinkley.

The CfDs allocated that year awarded prices of £114.39 and £119.89/MWh to the two successful offshore wind projects:



Onshore wind farms were also nearly as dear as Hinkley.

Because the prices have been index linked since, the current rates are now £129.88 and £136.08/MWh, and will continue to be inflated till the end of the contracts.




These projects were bargains compared to the first batch of contracts handed out by Ed Davey in 2013, which gave prices to offshore wind of between £140 and £155/MWh, not to mention £105/MWh to Drax for burning trees:



According to Harrabin, nuclear power is so expensive that it should be scrapped in favour of much cheaper renewable energy, even though contracts have been signed.

Why does he not call for all of these offshore wind deals to be scrapped as well, given that they are even more expensive?


In any event, Harrabin as usual ignores the fact that you cannot compare costs of intermittent and unreliable offshore wind with the dispatchable baseload offered by nuclear energy.



Harrabin presents Prof Andy Stirling as if he was impartial academic. In fact, he is no more than an eco-activist with a clear bias against nuclear energy:



I suspect, looking at his CV, our Mr Stirling is also strongly biased against our military, hence his absurd allegations about subsidising nuclear submarines.

  1. June 7, 2019 1:52 pm

    The accelerating competitiveness of renewable energy

    When it’s not windy you can have zero output wind energy free of charge :/

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      June 7, 2019 4:31 pm

      Not quite, oldbrew, because you still have to pay them for not being able to produce electricity just as you have to pay them when their uncontrollable whirligigs generate more than the grid wants. Unless I’ve misread the situation completely (which I admit is quite possible) they get to have it both ways and either way we pay for more our electricity than the proper market price, Harrabin’s inane blatherings notwithstanding.

      PS What does a “SPRU PI for collaborative initiatives on governance of climate geoengineering and the discontinuing of technological systems” actually do? I think we should be told!

      • Dave Ward permalink
        June 7, 2019 4:42 pm

        And not only do you “Still have to pay them for not being able to produce electricity”, but they take power from the grid to keep the blades turning, in order to avoid bearing damage.

      • Barbara Elsmore permalink
        June 7, 2019 7:32 pm

        Lots of useful tips here from the “SPRU”

        Click to access Risk%20Course.pdf

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        June 7, 2019 9:55 pm

        Thank you, Dave. I’d forgotten that bit!

  2. Gamecock permalink
    June 7, 2019 1:56 pm

    The extreme cost of nuclear energy is government content. Get government out of it, and it could be cheap.

  3. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 7, 2019 2:05 pm

    If we used massive subsidies to encourage the building of nuclear power stations whilst the UK rebuilt expertise, the cost would rapidly fall as our expertise/technology matured, and then we could be world leaders in nuclear power design and construction!!!

    Well that argument is made for windmills, why not nuclear?

    The only possible reason that the only real solution (nuclear) is not an option is that it was never about finding a real solution to a real climate problem.

    • dave permalink
      June 7, 2019 7:29 pm

      People have no idea how big, and how international in scope, firms like Rolls-Royce are. Their announced Hinckley Point-C contracts are chump-change for a company with an order book amounting to 76 billion pounds.

      • dave permalink
        June 7, 2019 7:40 pm

        Actually, the whole idea that pools of expertise have to be carefully nurtered is also completely out of date. One of my sons is a structural engineer and another an areospace engineer. I am startled how fluid and ad-hoc are projects and design processes. Almost like Hollywood film-making.

  4. June 7, 2019 2:09 pm

    I see comments on that weren’t going the way Harribin liked so they were quickly stopped

  5. Phoenix44 permalink
    June 7, 2019 2:20 pm

    A not very bright fool who cannot understand that he is not doing science, merely trying to prove his own opinions.

    And is the offshore wind price fully costed? does it include the cost of intermittetency and back-up generation? I think it doesn’t, whereas nuclear has not need of any of that.

    We must compare like with like.

  6. Harry Passfield permalink
    June 7, 2019 2:30 pm

    So Mr Stirling is not really a scientist – a ‘boffin’ – but he is, ironically, enjoying a subsidised position in Sussex.

  7. June 7, 2019 2:43 pm

    The magic word “Policy”, as in Energy Policy, allows anyone to get reported as an expert, when in fact they are political activists paid for by the unwitting taxpayer. UK academia is littered with these people, often taking money from the science and engineering research budget, such as Prof Catherine Mitchell of the University of the People’s Republic of Exeter.

  8. bobn permalink
    June 7, 2019 2:59 pm

    Yes. Mr Stirling is typical of the so-called ‘experts’ cited by the media. Qualified only in waffle and propaganda I doubt he knows any real science at all and wouldn’t know what the scientific method is. At best he can be descrided as a social studies advocate. None of the ‘experts’ and professors cited by leftie greens like Harribin are actually scientists.

    • Adrian permalink
      June 7, 2019 3:23 pm

      My real concern about nuclear subs is that they’re based in Scotland, ready for Sturgeon and the nutternats to confiscate.

      Although they’d probably convert them to run on wind, and launch unicorns.

      • David Kendrick permalink
        June 7, 2019 4:22 pm

        The only thing she can do is issue parking tickets, there is also a secret US base in the Hebredies and St Andrews where the US will have stored its own nuclear weapons from its black programs. You can make a lot of enemies very quickly.

  9. Rupert Fiennes permalink
    June 7, 2019 4:30 pm

    Well, since the RN’s submarine’s reactor is based on a US design, and since we haven’t built a civilian reactor for a third of a century, I’d say the MOD had been carrying the UK nuclear industry single handed with regard to design expertise.

    That being said, the idea of replacing some expensive mega project designed in France or China with a dozen British modular reactors that can be built quickly and need no refuelling for the next thirty years looks like a good bet.

    • Gamecock permalink
      June 7, 2019 6:36 pm

      NFW. Your ignorance is breathtaking. Are you prepared to have an army to guard the reactors?

      • Tom O permalink
        June 7, 2019 7:49 pm

        Why not? Army should cost less than the subsidies plus cost of decommissioning all the whirly-gigs.

      • Gamecock permalink
        June 8, 2019 12:02 am

        Hmmm . . . Tom O, you may be on to something.

      • angryscotonfragglerock permalink
        June 8, 2019 8:06 am

        Thorium salt reactors with CO2 supercritical fluids taking the place of steam, switched on and buried will not require ‘an army’ to guard them. Watch Taylor Wilson on TED and standby your beds for an education.

      • Gamecock permalink
        June 8, 2019 1:44 pm

        Yada, yada, yada. We’ve been hearing this thorium crap for 60 years. It died a proper death 30 years ago. Amazing how gullible some people are.

  10. June 7, 2019 6:51 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  11. Athelstan. permalink
    June 7, 2019 8:00 pm

    Utter and rancid drivel from green piss faculty @ the uni of Sussex.

    100% moron, beeb hive termite, one gobbo horrobin just couldn’t resist.

    Specious rumour spreading echoed by the hobgoblins of the meejah! Green advocacy and madhouse.chatter&, there’s a pattern here.

  12. john cooknell permalink
    June 7, 2019 8:48 pm

    Roger Harrabin is a journalist and broadcaster he studied English at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge.

    Not sure whether Harrabin has any expertise in Nuclear Energy or Nuclear Defence, but I would imagine the members of the Business Select Committee have little experience of these two areas either.

    This is the way we are governed, it wasn’t always like this, not long ago, most MP’s were men who had experience of war, so had a different perspective on things.

    • Mack permalink
      June 7, 2019 11:47 pm

      I remember Harrabin commenting about the ‘unprecedented’ warm weather his garden was experiencing in Winter a few years back resulting in his plants coming to life somewhat earlier than was usual for the time of year, a certain example, he asserted, of ‘man made’ climate change. I noted that such an experience was so unprecedented that Samuel Pepys had witnessed the exact same phenomena only 350 years earlier, as recorded in detail in his diaries, written………in the depths of the Little Ice Age! Yup, completely unprecedented. Needless to say, Harrabin is not even a student of history never mind an expert on scientific matters.

  13. June 7, 2019 9:28 pm

    Where did the figures of £92.50 for Hinkley Point C and £55 for offshore wind come from?

  14. Iain Reid permalink
    June 8, 2019 6:52 am

    Even using the £55.00 for ofshore wind (I know an unrealistic price) and Hinckley’s £92, when you factor in the capacity and life of wind versus nuclear, wind’s costs needs to be very roughly six times the face value using 33% capacity factor and 50% life?
    This puts an entirely different perspective on the cost (apart form all the other costs)

    • Athelstan. permalink
      June 8, 2019 7:24 am

      Then, there’s the stress factor, its cost to my mental faculties and where all logic has been kicked into the abyss, for no matter how I try to calculate it, birdmincers are a lunacy of an order which I simply cannot compute.

      • angryscotonfragglerock permalink
        June 8, 2019 8:08 am


    • Iain Reid permalink
      June 9, 2019 8:08 am

      Hello all,

      I realised after posting that I should be using capital costs rather than CfD, although I understand CfD is a reflection of capital and other costs.

  15. Bloke down the pub permalink
    June 9, 2019 11:57 am

    For decades, the eco-warriors have been conflating nuclear power and nuclear weapons in order to spread fear amongst the population.

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