The bright new dawn for Britain’s nuclear industry took only days to cloud over with familiar concerns over cost. In the space of a week, a lifeline investment of around £15bn into Europe’s largest nuclear plant in Cumbria emerged together with a promise for £450m of investment into the embattled industry from Government, Innovate UK and the Research Councils. The news that South Korea’s Kepco was close to finalising plans to snap up the troubled Nugeneration consortium behind the Moorside nuclear plant broke narrowly ahead of a new flurry of Government funding plans. Ministers set aside £86m to develop nuclear fusion technology and £56m to research and develop the next generation nuclear reactors. With large-scale projects now on firmer footing, government is turning its attention to developers who believe they can do the job at a small-scale with a price tag to match. Not everyone is supportive of the move. This is not so much a rebirth as the zombie twitch of an industry with no future, one critic quipped. But then, it wouldn’t be the first time the industry has survived predictions of a looming nuclear meltdown to see another new dawn. Fuelling the ongoing criticism of nuclear power is an assessment of mini-nuke technology that casts a cloud of doubt over the costs of these new reactors. The Government’s own findings, completed in the summer of 2016 but only released alongside the fresh funding, suggest that even the most economically viable options are likely to cost £101 per megawatt-hour, and could reach as high as £124/MWh.
Telegraph 9th Dec 2017 read more »