Consumer efforts to pursue cheap energy rates could receive a further setback with potential plans to charge each home a £44 levy to help fund nuclear redevelopment.
The main political parties have said new nuclear reactors being built in the UK will not receive financial assistance sourced from government funds or public subsidies, but energy firms have said this will be necessary if nuclear is to successfully compete with fossil fuel plants.
Plants burning coal or gas could be charged minimum rates to make up for their greenhouse gas emissions and these additional costs may help make nuclear reactors more competitive.
Despite the position taken by the main political parties, an unnamed government source told the Guardian: "We know what companies' investment criteria is [for nuclear power]. If [the upcoming] Copenhagen [climate change summit] does not reach agreement on it we will do it next year, either via a subsidy, levy or tax. We will look at it - the utilities know it."
EDF is scheduled to have the first new nuclear reactor operational in the UK by 2017.
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