Jeremy Leggett: The speed with which the renewables industries will be able to grow in the years ahead will be much affected by the course of the gas and nuclear industries’ efforts to grow. Having considered gas in my last column, let me turn to nuclear, and focus on a project that will have much to do with nuclear’s prospects globally: EDF’s Hinkley Point C plant. I start with a set of numbers surely destined to become a classic case history for business schools. Imagine you are the CFO of a company that has a market capitalisation of €18 billion. You are being asked to find investment of €22 billion for a new nuclear plant, the first of a whole new fleet. Without that fleet your company cannot hope to grow, assuming it sticks with nuclear generation, and therefore without that one plant its business model will be exposed as broken. Yet your plant is the most expensive power station in the world, and one of the most expensive human construction projects ever, in real terms. And here is the thing: you carry €37 billion of net debt on your balance sheet. You have two further problems. The first is €55 billion in estimated liabilities to keep a fleet of aging reactors, of earlier generations, open beyond their long-scheduled closedown dates. The second is an unknown number of further billions to fix a grave safety flaw in the steel of a pressure vessel in the forerunner of the new plant you must build.
Jerermy Leggett 3rd June 2016 read more »
On Tuesday The Guardian published a story based on a refusal by the Information Commissioner’s Office to back my appeal against the Department for Energy and Climate Change(DECC’s) refusal to provide the documents they sent to the European Commission to justify the planned subsidies for the radioactive waste created by the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power plant. Why did Information Commissioner back secrecy over disclosur eover Hinkley C nuclear waste?
David Lowry’s Blog 4th June 2016 read more »