Was it really sensible for the Government to sell off Westinghouse ?

For all those who do not know, Westinghouse are one of the world's leaders in Nuclear Power technology, both as a designer and builder of nuclear reactors and nuclear power stations. And they were British. However, if the government have their way, they won't be for much longer.

From 2005 the government was been obsessed with selling Westinghouse, currently part of British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL), of to a foreign owner.

The delays and initial announcement that the UK was considering a Nuclear future saw the price of the sell of rise from £555 million to £2.8 billion in only a year, with the price jump being attributable to the growing concerns about energy supply and a more pro nuclear sentiment across the world in the wake of the war in Iraq and concerns about dependency on Russian gas.

Given though that it has been clear that Britain was set to turn to nuclear for its future energy needs, and given that one of the core reasons for turning to nuclear was a guarantee of energy security, was it really the right time to sell off this prize asset ?

With Westinghouse very likely to be the biggest winner form a new drive for nuclear reactors in Britain, it appears the government may well have sold off an asset for a fraction of its true value at exactly the wrong moment, just as they did for the defence specialist Qinetiq which was sold for less than a quarter of its true value.

If you favour nuclear or not who maintain the old Conservative belief that the private sector is best, Westinghouse was a world leader, run as a private for, but state owned with no profits going to shareholders, just the UK exchequer. Given what the government knew of the nuclear debate, it was a stupid decision to sell Westinghouse and one that the British tax payer will live to regret.

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