Monday, April 03, 2017

Nuclear Power in the UK.

To begin. If you are just reading this, looking to criticise and make some **** comment, don't bother. Comments are so miserable, (and almost always anonymous) that I'm no longer going to publish them. If you have no wish to engage in constructive debate, go read someone else's blog. I don't write it for you. I write it for me, to help me think through issues of concern.

And today's issue is nuclear power. The future of nuclear power in the UK looks very uncertain. For years we've watched the twists and turns at the Hinckley Point development in Somerset, not entirely certain it would ever get off the ground. The French Govt has been hugely committed though, and through EDF, has shown great commitment to the UK. Often through history, France has been a friend to the UK, never more so than during the Falklands crisis. Any supposed 'enmity' twixt the UK and France is usually fictitious.

But what's triggered this post is the proposed Nugen power plant at Moorside in Cumbria. I'd thought this would be the first of a new generation of nuclear power stations to begin operations in the UK. Looking a bit unlikely today, with the US based developer, Westinghouse, declaring bankruptcy - all stemming from financial problems for Japanese conglomerate Toshiba. The big question now is where is the risk money going to come from. Inevitably, there will be calls for the UK Gov't to step in, borrowing the money at comparatively low rates. And if the Govt does agree to stand part of the financial risk, how long will it be until the Horizon project at Wylfa is making the same demand? Big important decisions on the Govt's desk.

Inevitably there will plenty calling for the abandonment of new nuclear altogether. I might have been with them 15 yrs ago, until I signed up to a carbon emissions reduction agenda. Moorside will generate 7% of the UK's energy needs - stable, consistent and carbon emissions free. Eventually, wecan hope that Small Modular Reactors become a reality. But that is all at the pilot stage. One for the future. No doubt, there will be more uncertainties ahead, but I expect the UK Govt to be resolute and deliver on new nuclear power.

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