The decision to review the Hinkley Point C project, taken at the eleventh hour, comes not a moment too soon for the future of UK energy policy. It opens up a Pandora’s Box which the nuclear industry has struggled to keep closed for far too long. It presents a window of opportunity to examine the future of nuclear energy and whether it has any future at all. Whatever decision is taken on Hinkley Point will have consequences for other nuclear projects in the queue, not least for Bradwell which was gifted last Autumn to the Chinese in return for their support in shoring up EDF. But, if Hinkley goes it is not clear whether it would take down Bradwell in its wake or whether Bradwell would rise as a Phoenix among the Hinkley ashes. Bradwell finds itself tied up in a complex web of economic, technical, security and, above all, political issues. Economically, Hinkley Point is a no-brainer. It is fearfully expensive, at £18bn construction costs and over £30bn lifetime costs, probably the most costly object on earth. Moreover, it is heavily subsidised by the taxpayer and will rip off the consumer at a price for electricity more than double the current rate for 35 years index-linked. If it is approved then every other nuclear developer, including the Chinese, will be licking their lips in grateful anticipation of such gratuitous largesse from the UK Government and electricity consumers.
BANNG 2nd Aug 2016 read more »