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DECC quango spends £1m on guarding nuclear plants

ClickGreen
12th February 2012
A Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) quango has spent over £1 million on stockpiling weapons, ammunition and vehicles as it guards the nation's civil nuclear energy sites against attack.
The shocking figures were discovered within an annual budget of nearly £80 million that is operated by the eight-man Civil Nuclear Police Authority.

The panel was set up in 2004 to govern the work of the UK's Nuclear Police Constabulary but because it's a quango, it's spending is not scrutinised in the normal way by the National Audit Office, but by accountancy firm KPMG.

The vast spending bill, which includes £14,000 for bottled water, is underwritten by DECC, but paid for by the nuclear energy industry, which in turn is recovered through consumers' bills.

Analysis of the accounts, shows that the £14,000 water bill is part of a larger £781,000 spend on "subsistence" – and the overall 25-year cost for providing round-the-clock armed protection is more than double the entire Feed-in Tariff (FiT) budget.

According to the CNPA's latest set of accounts, the authority this year has an annual budget of £78.5 million, which it uses to pass on to the nuclear site police force it independently governs.

The Nuclear Constabulary is responsible solely for safeguarding civil nuclear energy locations and material and is not involved in defence-related work and the majority of its officers are allowed to carry weapons as Authorised Firearms Officers.

As part of its remit, the agency is required to recover its full operating costs from the licensed operators of the UK's civil nuclear locations.

The audited accounts reveal the costs incurred last year by the police squad include £174,000 for an armoured vehicle, £674,000 for 22 replacement vehicles and £613,000 for a new control room.

The DECC-run body says it has "committed additional funds to increasing tactical and marksmanship skills" and its budget reveals around £435,000 was spent last year on weapons, spares and ammunition.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince told GreenWeek the budget highlighted the recent differences exploited between the nuclear and green energy industries.

He added: "With plenty of talk recently from the pro-nuclear, anti renewables lobby, about the hidden costs of green energy – it's interesting to note that we Britons stump up some £80 million a year to 'protect' nuclear sites – to the UK's Nuclear Police Constabulary – yes they have their own Police force.

"That sum is of course dwarfed by the nearly £3 billion a year being spent right now on the clean up of nuclear waste – something set to continue for the next hundred years or so.

"Compared to that the costs of green energy support are truly microscopic...and no policemen required of course."

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