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Investors won’t back the nuclear ”white elephant”, neither should the UK taxpayers

 The City won’t back new nuclear power stations – so why should we? The nuclear industry has a wretched track record when it comes to building new reactors. Giant cost overruns are practically a given; so too extraordinary delays.

Take EDF, the French state-backed outfit. Its nuke in Flamanville, Normandy was originally meant to come on line in 2009. Instead it won’t be ready until next year, 14 years later than originally planned and £10bn over budget.

Then there’s Hinkley Point C, Britain’s first new nuclear plant in three decades. Initially pencilled in for completion in 2017, it is now not expected until 2026 with a £23bn bill instead of £16bn.

No wonder, then, that the City has baulked at helping to finance Sizewell C, a project so radioactive that Sir Iain Duncan Smith has dubbed it “the next Huawei” because of the involvement of Beijing-backed CGN. The politics of
that are enough to put off most investors, but there are plenty of other risks that traditional fund managers will struggle to square with the environmental, social and governance (ESG) guidelines they are increasingly governed by.

But is this really the way to go about it? It is eight years since the influential Energy and Climate Change Committee called for the Government to come up with a plan B because of repeated problems with building new nuclear power. Yet we seem no closer to having one.

 T elegraph 7th July 2021

July 10, 2021 - Posted by | politics, UK

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