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Friends of the Earth are right about the prohibitive costs of building nuclear reacrtors

Nuclear developers stumble over technology and financing  Project delays and the Fukushima disaster have dented the appeal of atomic power, FT.COM  by: , Energy Editor, 23 May 17,

Olkiluoto island on the west coast of Finland is a showcase for the best and the worst of nuclear power…..

Construction started in 2005 on a third reactor at Olkiluoto which was supposed to come on line in 2009 at a cost of €3.2bn. More than a decade later, the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) being built by Areva of France is still at least a year from completion and almost three times over-budget at €8.5bn. The project has become an emblem of the technical and financial difficulties involved in building nuclear reactors — particularly since the 2011 meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima power plant laid bare the unique risks of the technology. Increasing safety requirements since Fukushima have been pushing up the cost of nuclear power as rapidly as those of alternative technologies, such as wind and solar, have been falling. Simon Bullock of the environmental group Friends of the Earth says nuclear power is a “stumbling, inflexible dinosaur” being overtaken by “fleet-footed mammals” in the forms of renewable energy and battery storage.

There is no shortage of evidence to support Mr Bullock’s view. Project delays such as the one at Olkiluoto have forced the French government to engineer a €5bn bailout of Areva, while Japan’s Toshiba has been plunged into financial crisis by heavy losses at its Westinghouse nuclear division. Some of the world’s biggest economies, meanwhile, are shifting decisively away from nuclear. Germany has been closing its reactors since Fukushima and most of those in Japan remain shut six years after the disaster.

With more than half the 450 operational reactors around the world over 30 years old and nearing the end of their planned lifespans, the industry faces a battle to persuade countries either to renew reactor fleets or adopt nuclear for the first time……

……..the economic case for investment in nuclear risks being undercut by rising imports of subsidised wind power from Sweden and Denmark. This has reduced the price of electricity in the Nordic market to a typical range of €25-€30 per megawatt hour, compared with €55 in 2010……

May 24, 2017 - Posted by | general

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