It was always a case of when, not if, Hinkley Point C went over budget and over schedule. But EDF’s admission last week that its new nuclear power station in Somerset risks costing as much as £2.2bn more than its original £18bn price tag,and coming online 15 months late, is still staggering. The French state-owned firm has been planning the project for years, so such a significant hike at such an early stage does not bode well for future delays and cost increases. Nonetheless, Hinkley Point C should go ahead. A huge amount of work has already been done, and the project brings billions in investment and thousands of jobs to a corner of the country that needs it. It will also provide 7% of the UK’s electricity and help Britain hit otherwise impossible carbon targets. But the case for a new fleet of nuclear power stations beyond Hinkley – already highly debatable before this week – looks increasingly weak. None looks able to tackle with sufficient urgency the UK’s challenges of energy security and cutting emissions in the 2020s.
Observer 9th July 2017 read more »