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Sledgehead

More 'priceless' Than Gold : Energy

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So Brown lost us a fortune speculating with our money on the gold price. I think we all know that. Did he learn his lesson and walk away from the table? Did he heck!

This latest revelation of financial incompetence not only beggars belief, but has far reaching implications that even threaten our enery supply and thus the very country we live in. Once again it involves financial markets. It occurred in Oct 2007 and involved the equivalent of selling a car's engine whilst retaining ownership of a useless chasis. I refer to the selling of a £2.2bn stake in nuclear power generator British Energy.

At the time Brown and his buddies thought this a cracking idea. The then Trade and industry secretary, one Alistair Darling, said the money raised from the sale of the stake would be used to help finance the clean-up of British Energy sites as existing nuclear plants are closed down. Presumably he and Brown believed this "shooshing-up" would smooth the way to selling British Energy. Perhaps they saw themselves as the Justin & Colin of nuclear waste dumps? Their very own £2.2bn property experiment? Who knows?

Whatever the intention, the result was the absolute opposite. Whilst the £2.2bn clean-up may well have made the Brit Energy sites more 'desirable', it also seems to have made them unsaleable as far as government is concerned.

Quite simply, whilst the sale of 400m shares in Brit Energy improved government accounts by £2.2bn, it also resulted in a dilution of their shareholding below 50%. With only 39% of the company, Gordon and Alistair now found themselves unable to dictate the future of Britsh Energy w/o the collaboration of other shareholders. They had effectively disenfranchised themselves.

Today, only 14 months after this "shrewd" move, Gordon and Alistair got their comeuppance. Gordon and Alistair (now Chancellor) were hoping to flog the rest of Britsh Energy, now with added cleaned-up-wow-factor, to the French energy producer EDF. The deal would not only have put a much needed £4,5bn in the Treasury's back pocket, but also have secured our nuclear future, as EDF would have brought to the table much needed technological expertise and investment. But when it came to the vote on EDF's plans to takeover Brit Energy, private investors, including those who bought the 400m shares back in Oct 07, decided EDF's offer was unacceptable.

The upshot? Firstly, Treasury coffers are £4.5bn lighter than they would have been at a time when public finances are being squeezed. Secondly and potentially much more seriously, NuLabour's energy policy, which relies heavily on development of nuclear power, lies in tatters. Indeed, the BBC believes the failure of this deal could potntially put the lights out all over Britain.

Undoubtedly there is some hyperbole incorporated in these dire predicted consequence. Nevertheless, what is undoubtedly true is this : had the government retained its control by keeping its shareholding above 50%, things would now be very different. They could have forced through the takeover. Instead, when offered "free money" back in Oct 2007, they simply couldn't resist the temptation, much like any fool with a credit card. Quite simply, what we have witnessed is another example of chicken's coming home to roost following an episode of NuLabour spend-now, pray-later. Priceless stuff undeed.

Edited by Sledgehead

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So Brown lost us a fortune speculating with our money on the gold price. I think we all know that. Did he learn his lesson and walk away from the table? Did he heck!

This latest revelation of financial incompetence not only beggars belief, but has far reaching implications that even threaten our enery supply and thus the very country we live in. Once again it involves financial markets. It occurred in Oct 2007 and involved the equivalent of selling a car's engine whilst retaining ownership of a useless chasis. I refer to the selling of a £2.2bn stake in nuclear power generator British Energy.

At the time Brown and his buddies thought this a cracking idea. The then Trade and industry secretary, one Alistair Darling, said the money raised from the sale of the stake would be used to help finance the clean-up of British Energy sites as existing nuclear plants are closed down. Presumably he and Brown believed this "shooshing-up" would smooth the way to selling British Energy. Perhaps they saw themselves as the Justin & Colin of nuclear waste dumps? Their very own £2.2bn property experiment? Who knows?

Whatever the intention, the result was the absolute opposite. Whilst the £2.2bn clean-up may well have made the Brit Energy sites more 'desirable', it also seems to have made them unsaleable as far as government is concerned.

Quite simply, whilst the sale of 400m shares in Brit Energy improved government accounts by £2.2bn, it also resulted in a dilution of their shareholding below 50%. With only 39% of the company, Gordon and Alistair now found themselves unable to dictate the future of Britsh Energy w/o the collaboration of other shareholders. They had effectively disenfranchised themselves.

Today, only 14 months after this "shrewd" move, Gordon and Alistair got their comeuppance. Gordon and Alistair (now Chancellor) were hoping to flog the rest of Britsh Energy, now with added cleaned-up-wow-factor, to the French energy producer EDF. The deal would not only have put a much needed £4,5bn in the Treasury's back pocket, but also have secured our nuclear future, as EDF would have brought to the table much needed technological expertise and investment. But when it came to the vote on EDF's plans to takeover Brit Energy, private investors, including those who bought the 400m shares back in Oct 07, decided EDF's offer was unacceptable.

The upshot? Firstly, Treasury coffers are £4.5bn lighter than they would have been at a time when public finances are being squeezed. Secondly and potentially much more seriously, NuLabour's energy policy, which relies heavily on development of nuclear power, lies in tatters. Indeed, the BBC believes the failure of this deal could potntially put the lights out all over Britain.

Undoubtedly there is some hyperbole incorporated in these dire predicted consequence. Nevertheless, what is undoubtedly true is this : had the government retained its control by keeping its shareholding above 50%, things would now be very different. They could have forced through the takeover. Instead, when offered "free money" back in Oct 2007, they simply couldn't resist the temptation, much like any fool with a credit card. Quite simply, what we have witnessed is another example of chicken's coming home to roost following an episode of NuLabour spend-now, pray-later. Priceless stuff undeed.

Two things Sledgey:

Firstly anything involving nuclear energy and its byproducts should not be put in private hands, this isn't like dealing with worthless paper, the "Goverment" should be dealing with every aspect of development and security of nuclear projects.

Secondly why the feck should we have to rely upon France to build our undoubted nuclear future, this is a total betrayal of what little is left of British intellect and ingenuity.

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Gordon and Alistair now found themselves unable to dictate the future of Britsh Energy w/o the collaboration of other shareholders. They had effectively disenfranchised themselves the tax payer.

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Two things Sledgey:

Firstly anything involving nuclear energy and its byproducts should not be put in private hands, this isn't like dealing with worthless paper, the "Goverment" should be dealing with every aspect of development and security of nuclear projects.

Secondly why the feck should we have to rely upon France to build our undoubted nuclear future, this is a total betrayal of what little is left of British intellect and ingenuity.

Ooh, now that's a dilemma if ever I saw one.

Whilst both points hold a shedload of water on a logical and moral basis, I find it very, very hard to beleive that any government we're likely to get here has the cojones to drive nuclear forward in the way it be driven. Part of me's of the opinion that private interest will at least get a decent weight of lobbyists behind the issue, and we might see the new Sodding Gert Radioactive Thingies we sadly but definately need built, whereas a bunch of vote-hungry politicians won't.

(Declaration of interest : I lived within the "if it goes up, you're well ******ed" radius of a number of decidedly experimental nuclear reactors for more than half my life. If you lived in Dorset in the 70s and 80s, so did you.)

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Ooh, now that's a dilemma if ever I saw one.

Its not a dilemma. Its perfectly simple.

We build, run, and maintain our own nuclear power stations just like we used to and just like we do - wihtout having to sell off yet more of the family jewels to foreign companys.

WHY DO WE HAVE TO SELL OUR ****** TO THE FROGS JUST TO BUILD SOME FARKING POWER STATIONS?! WE SEEMED TO HAVE MANAGED IT VERY WELL 20-30 YEARS AGO WITHOUT THE FRENCH DOING IT FOR US!! COULD IT BE THAT BROWN HAS SQUANDRED THE MONEY AND WE CANT AFFORD IT ANY MORE?

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Two things Sledgey:

Firstly anything involving nuclear energy and its byproducts should not be put in private hands, this isn't like dealing with worthless paper, the "Goverment" should be dealing with every aspect of development and security of nuclear projects.

Secondly why the feck should we have to rely upon France to build our undoubted nuclear future, this is a total betrayal of what little is left of British intellect and ingenuity.

I don't disagree with a single word of that lufc.

Nevertheless, given that we have a government that seems happy to have presided over an economic model whereby potential British investors have been encouraged to buy property instead of backing British companies, allowing variously our airports, airlines, water supply, seaports, airports, mortgage banks and all sorts of other companies of strategic importance to fall prey to foreign predators, one must I suppose accept it was only a matter of time before energy security was compromised.

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I don't disagree with a single word of that lufc.

Nevertheless, given that we have a government that seems happy to have presided over an economic model whereby potential British investors have been encouraged to buy property instead of backing British companies, allowing variously our airports, airlines, water supply, seaports, airports, mortgage banks and all sorts of other companies of strategic importance to fall prey to foreign predators, one must I suppose accept it was only a matter of time before energy security was compromised.

Exactly. And the sad thing is we no longer have enough money to re-purchase any of these but are dependent on French money to keep the lights on! WTF!!!!!

The UK is bankrupt!

Edited by jonewer

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WE SEEMED TO HAVE MANAGED IT VERY WELL 20-30 YEARS AGO

It was a bit more fashionable then. Do you honestly think a government, of either party, would have the balls to build a new generation of nuclear power stations without crapping their knickers over votes? Yes, any new power stations would require government support, but I really can't see that happening without a tonking gert private enterprise leaning on them and yelling "WE'LL GIVE YOU LOADS OF MONEY IF WE CAN STICK A FEW OF THESE IN KENT AND ESSEX, ALRIGHT!?!".

What's more, when it comes to security of supply, if they're built over here, do you honestly think that...

a) The French are going to suddenly withdraw the power produced from us.

bee) If they were going to, said power stations wouldn't be taken over at a stroke?

Okay, being more than slightly devils advocate there.

I'd love to see them built by a British state concern. It's sodding great piles of dangerous shit producing totally vital energy. It's important. However, I just worry that neither of the parties who're likely to get into power will have the courage to carry such a programme through to the level that would be required, and that it would take private enterprise to lean on them to get it done.

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Firstly anything involving nuclear energy and its byproducts should not be put in private hands, this isn't like dealing with worthless paper, the "Goverment" should be dealing with every aspect of development and security of nuclear projects.

You honestly trust _NuLab_ to do a better job of nuclear power than a private company?

The worst nuclear accidents so far were in Russian plants run by the government, so hardly a glaring advertisement for letting governments run these things. And I believe the primary reason why the UK's reactors ended up using such 'fail dangerous' designs is because the government wanted to extract plutonium from the spent fuel for nuclear bombs... a fully private nuclear plant would have had to use much safer designs to get insurance.

Small pebble-bed reactors run by local power companies would be far safer than huge, centralised, government-run reactors that can melt down.

Secondly why the feck should we have to rely upon France to build our undoubted nuclear future, this is a total betrayal of what little is left of British intellect and ingenuity.

Are there any nuclear engineers in the UK capable of building new plants after decades of anti-nuclear fanaticism?

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Are there any nuclear engineers in the UK capable of building new plants after decades of anti-nuclear fanaticism?

There were enough in 1950 when nuclear power hadnt been invented yet.

As to private companies running nuclear - do you really want clowns like Barratt, A&L and B&B, just about any train company actually in charge of anything?

Three mile island anyone?

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There were enough in 1950 when nuclear power hadnt been invented yet.

That would be great... if we were living in the 1950s. But we're not, and Britain needs new reactors yesterday, not in a decade when British engineers have figured out how to make them again.

As to private companies running nuclear - do you really want clowns like Barratt, A&L and B&B, just about any train company actually in charge of anything?

I don't believe that any of those companies are generating electricity, unless you're expecting Barratt to start new-build reactor developments.

Either way, they could hardly do worse than the government.

Three mile island anyone?

Where the safety systems worked as designed, and no radiation casualties are known to have occurred (according to Wikipedia, the US government estimated that one person might get cancer). I believe the average coal-fired power station throws more radiation into the atmosphere each year than Three Mile Island did.

Chernobyl, anyone? The most serious incidents I can think of have been from government-run facilities, because only they can throw lots of radiation into the atmosphere and get away with it.

You keep whining about private companies running dangerous reactors and how the government could do it instead, but the whole reason we have those dangerous reactors is _BECAUSE OF THE GOVERNMENT_. Without government demands for plutonium for bombs, and without government backing for nuclear power station insurance, there would be no reactors of such dangerous design; private companies couldn't run them without insurance, and no sensible insurer would touch them because of the vast expenses if there was a serious incident.

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we have no gas storage to speak of and need to buy gas on demand on spot markets.

We produce little or no coal from our 300 years of supply under ground.

We have a crisis in the nuclear industry and no money of our own to invest.

Oil supply is dwindling in UK Oil fields.

Public spending is at record levels with hidden future costs (PFI) uncertain.

What, exactly, HAS the Government been spending on??

Im afraid internet infrastructure and a nuclear deterrent are pretty useless when all we have are horses and carts for transport, and candles for lighting.

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What, exactly, HAS the Government been spending on??

Just have a look at Dogs weekly public jobs list, theres a clue where most of it is going

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That would be great... if we were living in the 1950s. But we're not, and Britain needs new reactors yesterday, not in a decade when British engineers have figured out how to make them again.

I don't believe that any of those companies are generating electricity, unless you're expecting Barratt to start new-build reactor developments.

Either way, they could hardly do worse than the government.

Where the safety systems worked as designed, and no radiation casualties are known to have occurred (according to Wikipedia, the US government estimated that one person might get cancer). I believe the average coal-fired power station throws more radiation into the atmosphere each year than Three Mile Island did.

Chernobyl, anyone? The most serious incidents I can think of have been from government-run facilities, because only they can throw lots of radiation into the atmosphere and get away with it.

You keep whining about private companies running dangerous reactors and how the government could do it instead, but the whole reason we have those dangerous reactors is _BECAUSE OF THE GOVERNMENT_. Without government demands for plutonium for bombs, and without government backing for nuclear power station insurance, there would be no reactors of such dangerous design; private companies couldn't run them without insurance, and no sensible insurer would touch them because of the vast expenses if there was a serious incident.

Three mile island accident was caused by an equipment malfunction, faulty repair and poor operator training - the main learning point from the accident was the poor handling of the media response caused by the private company seeking to protect its reputation and failing to be open and honest with regulators and state officials. Read up about Davis-Besse reactor for how similar shortcomings of profit over safety almost caused another catastrophic accident at an American nuclear power station.

Chernobyl was a different beast, caused by political pressure to perform a daft experiment during the process of shutting down the reactor. The operators knowingly violated all the safety rules - indicative of a compliant mind-set typical in authoritarian regime. The accident that followed was worse than TMI because of the lack of containment.

Me, I would rather have state owned nuclear facilities, the Royal Navy own and operate more reactors than any other company in the UK.

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One of the things that hpc.co.uk taught me was the fun to be had in asking people where money came from, once that is, you'd worked it out for yourself. It is one of those questions that leaves people feeling very foolish if they answer that the government print it, and then have it explained to them that printed money is only a tiny fraction of the money created. Something so every day as money, something everyone wants, and yet they know so little about what it is, and where it comes from.

I'm now finding that there is equally much entertainment to be had in asking the same question about energy. What is it, and where does it come from? Many (most) people are happy to talk about rising energy prices, but if you ask what energy actually is, then most people are utterly lost.

I shouldn't enjoy it so, and comments about small things pleasing small minds are no doubt justified!

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w

Oil supply is dwindling in UK Oil fields.

.

With energy shortages, we have truly been dwelling in a time of dwindling resources with a problem that dwarfs all other.

Did you like that alliteration, all the dw words in the english language words in one sentence?

Edited by Optobear

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So Brown lost us a fortune speculating with our money on the gold price. I think we all know that. Did he learn his lesson and walk away from the table? Did he heck!

As Injin once said:

"I find it quaint that people think the government does anything to the economy other than steal from it"

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Guest sillybear2

Actually we didn't manage it very well 30 years ago, each reactor was bespoke and usually over budget and delayed. The AGR's were elegant from a engineering point of view, but financially each reactor was a unique and complex folly.

Now it's all about standardised designs that can be replicated, economies of scale etc, the UK government's sale of Westinghouse to Toshiba in 2006 with its standardised AP1000 design was also another mistake. Hence we now have to suck up the French because Gordy's brother works for them.

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Guest sillybear2
I remember just laughing aloud when Hazel Ble^rs was on Question Time inadvertently implying that Gordon et al would head out into the North Sea to discover more oil.

I had a vision of them all in a little wooden boat. :lol:

SinkingShip-2.jpg

The final hours of HMS Nu Labour after been hit by a Mewuclear torpedo

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So Brown lost us a fortune speculating with our money on the gold price. I think we all know that. Did he learn his lesson and walk away from the table? Did he heck!

This latest revelation of financial incompetence not only beggars belief, but has far reaching implications that even threaten our enery supply and thus the very country we live in. Once again it involves financial markets. It occurred in Oct 2007 and involved the equivalent of selling a car's engine whilst retaining ownership of a useless chasis. I refer to the selling of a £2.2bn stake in nuclear power generator British Energy.

At the time Brown and his buddies thought this a cracking idea. The then Trade and industry secretary, one Alistair Darling, said the money raised from the sale of the stake would be used to help finance the clean-up of British Energy sites as existing nuclear plants are closed down. Presumably he and Brown believed this "shooshing-up" would smooth the way to selling British Energy. Perhaps they saw themselves as the Justin & Colin of nuclear waste dumps? Their very own £2.2bn property experiment? Who knows?

Whatever the intention, the result was the absolute opposite. Whilst the £2.2bn clean-up may well have made the Brit Energy sites more 'desirable', it also seems to have made them unsaleable as far as government is concerned.

Quite simply, whilst the sale of 400m shares in Brit Energy improved government accounts by £2.2bn, it also resulted in a dilution of their shareholding below 50%. With only 39% of the company, Gordon and Alistair now found themselves unable to dictate the future of Britsh Energy w/o the collaboration of other shareholders. They had effectively disenfranchised themselves.

Today, only 14 months after this "shrewd" move, Gordon and Alistair got their comeuppance. Gordon and Alistair (now Chancellor) were hoping to flog the rest of Britsh Energy, now with added cleaned-up-wow-factor, to the French energy producer EDF. The deal would not only have put a much needed £4,5bn in the Treasury's back pocket, but also have secured our nuclear future, as EDF would have brought to the table much needed technological expertise and investment. But when it came to the vote on EDF's plans to takeover Brit Energy, private investors, including those who bought the 400m shares back in Oct 07, decided EDF's offer was unacceptable.

The upshot? Firstly, Treasury coffers are £4.5bn lighter than they would have been at a time when public finances are being squeezed. Secondly and potentially much more seriously, NuLabour's energy policy, which relies heavily on development of nuclear power, lies in tatters. Indeed, the BBC believes the failure of this deal could potntially put the lights out all over Britain.

Undoubtedly there is some hyperbole incorporated in these dire predicted consequence. Nevertheless, what is undoubtedly true is this : had the government retained its control by keeping its shareholding above 50%, things would now be very different. They could have forced through the takeover. Instead, when offered "free money" back in Oct 2007, they simply couldn't resist the temptation, much like any fool with a credit card. Quite simply, what we have witnessed is another example of chicken's coming home to roost following an episode of NuLabour spend-now, pray-later. Priceless stuff undeed.

If this sale had gone ahead,the French could close the stations put more interconnecting cables between us and france to export more of their electricity to us and we would be even more reliant on foreign country for our energy supplies. And we all know what that means?

When is this goverment going to wake up.

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Shame our government can't afford to buy a controlling share in EDF energy? Even if we had the money we couldn't, they wouldn't let us!

But they quite happily put our balls in the vice and then claim we should claim windfall taxes of the energy companies!

WHERE EXACTLY WERE THOSE WINDFALL TAXES ON BANKS WHEN YOU SOLD US DOWN THE RIVER MR BLAIR? WITH YOUR 500K p/a salary at JPM! (Yet UK polls show him returning to post of PM as being the best move Labour could make to win the next election!!!! spin clearly works)

Edited by Yoss

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Actually we didn't manage it very well 30 years ago, each reactor was bespoke and usually over budget and delayed. The AGR's were elegant from a engineering point of view, but financially each reactor was a unique and complex folly.

Now it's all about standardised designs that can be replicated, economies of scale etc, the UK government's sale of Westinghouse to Toshiba in 2006 with its standardised AP1000 design was also another mistake. Hence we now have to suck up the French because Gordy's brother works for them.

+1. Our nuclear build programme was a mess whereas the french seemed to get it right by mass producing their plants.

I still can't believe the timing of the Westinghouse sale and I don't see the French saying they'd be better off putting their nuclear fuels/hardware business in private, foreign hands.

Then this happens http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7501470.stm the French already have a toe in the door of running our nuclear facilities. I ecpected the British Energy deal to go through, putting the French in a position of almost complete vertical integration int he British neclear energy market.

I can only hope that by delaying new nuclear build we end up with a far better technological solution than was available in the 80/90s. More so than ever this will need to be a major project that we need to get right first time for the projected cost.

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Well f**k it, if you are going to have nuclear, you may as well ensure its built and run by the best in the game. Why stop there? Imagine a french train system here, a french medical system, a french educational system. Oh wait, I almost forgot, they're socialist crazies. I mean, who in their right minds could possibly want efficient energy, transport, educational or medical systems? Yeah, mad, I know.

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Well f**k it, if you are going to have nuclear, you may as well ensure its built and run by the best in the game. Why stop there? Imagine a french train system here, a french medical system, a french educational system. Oh wait, I almost forgot, they're socialist crazies. I mean, who in their right minds could possibly want efficient energy, transport, educational or medical systems? Yeah, mad, I know.

The French further education system is an absolute joke - lecturers perpetually on strike and more or less zero investment in facilities - the much praised French health system pays it`s Doctors a thrid of ours and nurses are lucky to earn 15ooo Euros a year ...

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