Friday, 26 August 2016

Nuclear Deja Vu

In his Business Commentary (‘Power play,” August 26 Alistair Osborne rightly highlights conclusion of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, a non-profit organisation, that there are “cheaper, quicker and simpler alternatives to Hinkley C”.

He gives £18 billion as the projected cost, while other estimates put it at £37 billion over its lifetime, including annual subsidies. He also that Hinkley could provide “7 per cent of Britain’s energy needs,” whereas the correct figure is 2.6 per cent of energy needs, as Osborne has conflated energy with electricity.

This debate reminds me of the dispute over the projected merits of the Sizewell B nuclear plant thirty five years ago, when, in May 1981, the then national watchdog, the Monopolies and Mergers Commission published an analysis on the nationalised electricity generator, the Central Electricity Generating Board, (CEGB),  concluded:

 “A large investment in nuclear power stations, which would increase the capital for a given level of output, is proposed on the basis of investment appraisals which are seriously defective and liable to mislead. We conclude that the Board’s course of conduct in this regards operates against the public interest.”

I invite the Prime Minister’s current review of Hinkley C, with its inbuilt massive public subsidy, to reach the same conclusion, for the same reason.

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