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Theresa May’s massive financial blunders- going ahead with Hinkley and Wylfa nuclear power projects

FT 7th June 2018 Every government makes mistakes, but it takes a really special administration to make a massive blunder and then go on to make the same fundamental error again, just months later. The blunder is the £20bn
Hinkley Point nuclear power station, which Theresa May bottled out of scrapping, and which will force UK customers to buy some of the most expensive electricity on the planet — an inflation-linked £105 per MWh in today’s money.

Despite this fabulous, guaranteed price, the project is so financially toxic that it threatened to break EDF, its contractor. It
seems that Hitachi, which fancies building a £16bn nuclear power station at Wyfla in north Wales, has noticed and wants us to share the risk.

Ominously, it seems we are going to. The Hitachi design is said to be better than EDF’s, in that there is an actual working example, and the guaranteed price is rumoured to be about £15 per MWh less than Hinkley’s (though still wildlyexpensive).

Yet if even this is not attractive enough for Hitachi to go ahead unaided, is any big nuclear plant worth building?

While wind and solar costs are falling, ever-stricter safety rules continue to drive up those for nuclear. Changing patterns of use and advancing storage technology also undermine the “base load” case on which nuclear is built. Elsewhere in the land of white elephants, here’s the Swansea barrage, optimistically priced at £1.3bn and recently described by business secretary Greg Clark as “an untried technology with high capital costs and significant uncertainties”. Pulling the plug on that would at least avoid a hat-trick of terrible energy policy decisions.


June 11, 2018 - Posted by | general

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