Finance aside, renewables will be nuclear’s real foe in the future. The new chief executive of EDF Energy admitted last week that it had been a “monstrous job” drumming up the backing for the UK’s first new nuclear power station in decades. The next nuclear plants will need to be built for a much cheaper, subsidised price of power than the generous one awarded to EDF’s Hinkley Point C, Whitehall has warned. So those who undertake construction will need every possible weapon at their disposal to defeat their biggest enemy: financing. Public finance is the magic sword that some think could slay the Godzilla-sized challenge facing Japanese firm Hitachi, which wants to build a plant on the island of Anglesey. Japanese press reports recently put the capital cost of the project at £19.5bn, with more than £14bn to come from loans from the UK and Japanese governments. The rationale for Tokyo is clear. The big question is why the UK would want to shoulder the risk of such a huge scheme. The idea of taxpayers taking on any of the construction risk of building new nuclear plants has been political anathema for years. It has become a government mantra that the subsidy cost promised to EDF is justified because the public is not bearing the risks of building Hinkley. By 2030, when Sizewell C might be under construction, there could be five times as much offshore wind capacity as there is today, according to a report this week. Renewables, battery storage and other technologies could prove to be the real monster facing nuclear.
Guardian 21st Jan 2018 read more »
Scott Montgomery and Thomas Graham, the authors of “Seeing the Light: The Case of Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” forcefully state in the first line of their book, “Nuclear power is not an option for the future, but an absolute necessity.” Such audacity flies in the face of the nuclear-plant accidents of Three Mile Island in the U.S., Chernobyl in Russia and Fukushima in Japan. All of which the authors discuss in detail and then discard as a result of human error, not an inherent problem of nuclear engineering. They do not depend on a belief in market forces and government oversight to champion the expansion of nuclear power. Rather, they argue that without nuclear power, countries will grow increasingly dependent on fossil fuels for their economic growth. The result has been an ongoing environmental disaster, a conclusion that environmentalists alarmed by climate change would readily agree with.
Seattle Times 21st Jan 2018 read more »