Luxembourg has confirmed that it will back Austria in filing a lawsuit against the European Commission for the decision to allow billions of pounds of subsidies for Hinkley Point C, casting fresh doubt over the UK’s first planned nuclear reactors in 20 years.
Monique Clement, Private Secretary at Luxembourg’s Department of the Environment told Power Engineering International, “Yes we are going to follow Austria. That’s the decision of the Luxembourg government.”
Asked what the rationale was for Luxembourg’s opposition, the spokesperson was not forthcoming.
“We do not comment further at this stage of the procedure.”
Austria’s position is that the the UK’s loan guarantees – over a 35-year period – constitute illegal state aid. Vienna’s attitude has caused anger in London, with British diplomats threatening retaliatory measures against Austria.
Meanwhile Germany’s energy minister Sigmar Gabriel also this week expressed his opposition to subsidies for nuclear, without directly mentioning the British project.
"There are countries in the EU that want to support nuclear power with tax money. We think that is absolutely out of the question," Gabriel said. "We will not agree by any means that nuclear energy be supported by public money. Nuclear energy is the most expensive kind of generation. It has now been around for 50 years, it is not new and it is dangerous."
Top legal experts are still divided on whether Austria will follow through on its stated intent to file the suit, which is due to be made on March 21st.