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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

A financially viable nuclear power station looks increasingly like a mirage

burial NUCLEAR INDUSTRYflag-UKDash for gas — and move on from nuclear power folly   https://www.ft.com/content/2a2d94a8-f461-11e6-95ee-f14e55513608 If an industry cannot finance itself after decades, it’s time to try another industry
Inside London FEBRUARY 17, 2017 by: Neil Collins Remember “Nuclear power? No thanks”? That sunny, smiling sticker which was almost standard on the back of every Citroen Deux-Chevaux? How we smiled at such naivety. Nuclear power was the future! The fume-belching little 2CV may have gone the way of the Trabant but, after another grim week for the nuclear industry, it seems those stickers may have been right after all.

A financially viable nuclear power station looks increasingly like a mirage. Even the eye-watering guarantee from the UK taxpayer for Hinkley Point C is not enough to cover the risk that building it will bankrupt EDF. Toshiba’s woes have claimed the scalp of its chairman. Hitachi is signalling that its project in Anglesey needs government backing to proceed. It’s telling that after 60 years of mostly successful operation, commercial viability still eludes the nuclear power industry. Perhaps we have been lucky to have avoided serious accidents and the decommissioning costs were hugely underestimated — but the combination of ever-rising safety demands and cheap hydrocarbons has destroyed its economics. Appealing for fresh state aid looks like a desperate last throw of the nuclear dice. If an industry cannot finance its own projects after half a century of development, it may be time to try another industry.
Fortunately, other industries are available. The cheapest and quickest fix is to build gas-fired power stations, to tap into worldwide abundance and increasingly diverse supply, even before domestic fracking gets going in the UK. Unfortunately, the artificial barriers imposed by today’s energy policy are preventing this subsidy-free solution. For the longer term, the price of solar energy continues to fall and smart meters that really are smart will start managing the demand side of the equation. Even offshore wind looks a better bet than nuclear as battery technology evolves. 
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February 20, 2017 - Posted by | general

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