The winds of change should blow away nuclear plans. The precipitous drop in the price of electricity from offshore wind turbines should be a tipping point for green technology. In 2014 the current generated by a forest of giant whirling fans out at sea was priced at around £150 per megawatt hour. In the latest auction this week the comparable cost dropped as low as £57.50/MWh. Even when the cost of providing back-up capacity for still days is added, the cost of producing energy from offshore wind is little more than £70/MWh. Compared to the new Hinkley C nuclear plant which produces electricity at a cost of £92.50/MWh, one has to wonder whether as a nation we should persist with nuclear energy as an option to reduce our greenhouse gas output. Hinkley looks like a dinosaur even before it arrives on earth. It’s unclear whether the unproven design will ever get built. If it does, the cost of complying with safety and anti-terrorism standards may well be prohibitive. Hinkley was conceived when the conventional wisdom was that we would start to run out of hydrocarbons. Fears of a runaway price for oil and gas now look overheated. The government has however supported plans to install a nuclear power plant, backed by French and Chinese state operators, costing £18bn. Nuclear power has a trump card: it is a zero-carbon technology which delivers a continuous, uninterrupted supply. This may be a consideration in the years ahead if the UK banned petrol engines and only allowed electric cars. Imagine, say nuclear fans, the surge of demand when everyone got home and plugged in their motors. But we are not there yet.
Guardian 13th Sept 2017 read more »
In southwest England of Somerset on the coast of Bristol Channel, a construction site as big as 245 football pitches is fully charged with dust and energy with giant digging machines busy excavating four million cubic meters of earth to house Hinkley Point C’s two future reactors. “My daughter sits on that 100-ton dump truck,” David Starsmeare, a concrete worker, told Xinhua, pointing to a direction far away with a broad smile and obvious pride on his rugged face. It is not rare in the Hinkley Point C nuclear project that family members are working together as the project preferentially seeks to employ local residents. During construction, which will take close to a decade, more than 5,600 people will work on site at one time during the busiest period. The 14-billion-GBP (18-billion-U.S.-dollar) project, with one-third investments from China, will create 25,000 jobs during construction and 900 permanent positions during the station’s 60-year life, according to Nigel Cann, the director of site construction.
Xinhuanet 12th Sept 2017 read more »