Letter Ian Fairlie: Hinkley Point C needs a rethink. At present the proposed 3.2GW nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C (HPC) in Somerset is in its early construction stages. EDF (the utility company largely owned by the French state) is pressing ahead, apparently in the hope of persuading politicians not to abandon a partly completed project. But the HPC project remains highly controversial and its completion remains in doubt for political, financial and technical reasons: It could be cancelled by French or British governments; It could be cancelled by EDF as it is in serious financial difficulties; Severe technical problems exist at the identical nuclear plant under construction at Flamanville in France; Brexit problems exist in its construction. Apart from the many objections to nuclear power in general — high costs, dangerous nature, radioactive emissions, weapons proliferation, nuclear waste, and poor carbon reduction — additional objections apply specifically to Hinkley Point C: Recent large construction cost increases and delays; Future electricity bills would be increased roughly by an extra £50 billion; Abandoning HPC would cost taxpayers much less than that; Construction at HPC is still at an early stage and could be cancelled, and Abandoning Hinkley would not leave an energy “gap”. In sum, while it is annoying that money would have been wasted by EDF on HPC, that is no reason to continue with a facility that will cost consumers far more than the cost of abandoning it. The current government’s policy of allowing HPC’s construction to continue has more to do with avoiding loss of face than with any technical or financial merits. Instead, sound arguments exist for it to be cancelled — and the sooner the better. The Labour Party should establish a working party to examine the option of abandoning HPC.
Morning Star 12th Nov 2019 read more »