Kirsty Gogan: Hinkley already, it looks like an antique. Will it be possible to standardise and duplicate such a behemoth reactor design, making it scalable to solve our national energy security needs (beyond the seven per cent it will deliver), let alone contribute towards the global challenges of clean energy access within urgent timescales? The EPR is a high cost outlier compared to new build elsewhere, and a world apart from projects in South Korea or China. Many people have a feeling of dread with the prospect of delays, cost increases and who knows what difficulties for a project of this complexity, not to mention the associated impact on communities around the Olympic scale construction site suffering years of dust and disruption. It seems like a heavy price to pay. All the same, had the decision gone the other way, it would have been devastating for overall confidence in the nuclear new build programme and investors more generally in the UK. Hinkley now needs to move forward as fast and successfully as possible, pumping investment into regions outside the South East, rebooting the skills and supply chain. The UK then must accelerate as soon as possible into a new era of modern nuclear development.Strategic priorities for the nuclear sector, beyond Hinkley, are to tackle construction delay; cost over-runs; slow build rate; and high financing costs. The future lies in modular build and shipyard assembly of mass-produced units that can be manufactured and shipped to sites for installation rather than custom-built, thereby speeding up construction times and lowering direct and financing costs. This has less to do with science or technology and more to do new business models designed to accelerate commercialization of climate solutions, at scale, within mid-century timescales.
Business Green 13th Oct 2016 read more »