Two UK newspapers have reported that the UK government is planning to subsidise nuclear power indirectly by putting a lower bound on the country’s carbon trading scheme.

The EU’s carbon trading scheme launched in 2008. Currently, carbon is trading at about GBP12 (EUR13) per tonne. These prices are perhaps a third of what they would need to be for nuclear power to be competitive.

According to the Guardian, the UK’s Office of Nuclear Development would step in to fix the carbon price above GBP30, in case the global climate change summit in Copenhagen in December does not significantly raise the price.

The Daily Telegraph reported in early October that the Government’s Committee on Climate Change recommended a floor price on carbon emission permits.

EDF CEO Vincent de Rivaz called for the UK government to prop up the carbon price in June 2009.

According to the Guardian, EDF will decide within a year about whether to commit funds to build the four EPRs that it is planning in the UK.