Current plans would have six sites with four different reactor types being built, fundamentally limiting the considerable savings that standardisation has to offer. It is time that the Government fully appreciates the costs of indecision. Of the 15 currently operational reactors in the UK, nine are due to retire in 2023-2024, with the remainder (bar Sizewell B) retiring in 2028-2030. With power production margins already severely diminished, this string of closures will wreak havoc. Projects across the world have proven that nuclear power projects can be delivered on time and on budget. The South Koreans are successfully delivering the Barakah project in the UAE, for example. However, EDF’s chosen vendor AREVA has done an excellent job at making nuclear seem highly expensive. Recent increases in cost estimates for Hinkley only reinforces this notion, with the project budget already having ballooned by more than 60 per cent to £20.3 billion. The Government must reassess its stance. Rather than continuing this haphazard mess, a radically different approach to what we have historically seen in the UK should be adopted. Studies have concluded that the state building, owning and leasing the nuclear power stations to operators would ensure that our energy future is stable. Furthermore, the Government should consider putting out a tender for all sites, with one company responsible for constructing all new reactors. This would allow for extensive standardisation and learning, which is likely to significantly decrease the costs of the projects. France is a prime example of how this strategy can fundamentally change energy production in a country.
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