Olkiluoto has become an emblem of the technical and financial difficulties involved in building nuclear reactors — particularly since the 2011 meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima power plant laid bare the unique risks of the technology. Increasing safety requirements since Fukushima have been pushing up the cost of nuclear power as rapidly as those of alternative technologies, such as wind and solar, have been falling. Simon Bullock of the environmental group Friends of the Earth says nuclear power is a “stumbling, inflexible dinosaur” being overtaken by “fleet-footed mammals” in the forms of renewable energy and battery storage. The best prospects for growth are in developing countries scrambling to meet rising energy demand. Of the 60 reactors under construction globally, a third are in China. Olkiluoto is one of just six being built across western Europe and the US, although the UK is bucking the trend with plans for several new reactors in coming years. Ground preparations are under way at Hinkley Point in south-west England for the first new UK nuclear plant since the 1990s. The project will be an important test of the industry’s ability to learn lessons from recent failings because it is based on the same EPR technology being installed at Olkiluoto. “It is not possible to make a profit from new nuclear at current prices,” says Mr Lundmark. “Wind subsidies have distorted the system. We would like to see a much higher price levied on carbon emissions and then let the market do its work.”
FT 23rd May 2017 read more »
The UK nuclear industrial situation keeps getting more complex and controversial. Here I address the complexity confronted by the UK as it exits Euratom and starts to think about what it has previously rejected: China to the rescue at NuGen. All the while the proposals for dramatic expansion of offshore wind in Europe just keep coming!
Seeking Alpha 22nd May 2017 read more »