Funding a new wave of nuclear projects would be throwing good money after bad. Instead of Hinkley being the start of a “new wave” of British nuclear stations, it should mark the end of a long and sorry saga.. The 10 long years of negotiations between the government, EDF and more recently Chinese backers, have been bruising for the government – and the public purse. There is no doubt that Hinkley – with its £18bn build cost and eye-watering strike price – is an expensive deal. Necessary perhaps, given the diplomatic and strategic situation we find ourselves in now, but expensive nonetheless. But the sunk cost of Hinkley should not now be used as justification to throw good money after bad and fund a new fleet of nuclear power stations in the UK. The government needs to remember that, as pointed out by economists and energy experts the world over, energy systems are undergoing a revolution, powered by the plummeting cost of renewable energy and rapid advances in technologies such as battery storage. So while the cost of nuclear power has steadily increased over the past 10 years, renewable power has become cheaper, more powerful and more sophisticated. A project that (just about) made economic sense back in 2012 no longer does now, and it is looking increasingly likely that future nuclear plants will fail on the same grounds. That is precisely why Hinkley should not mark the “first of a wave of new nuclear power plants” as Greg Clark said today in Parliament, but the full stop at the end of a very long and sorry saga.
Business Green 15th Sept 2016 read more »