26 August 2016

Un temps pour penser

You have to dig a little to find the truth about European Pressurised Reactors (ERPs) and most of you will naturally ask the question, "Why would you want to?" But this is the technology that they are planning to use on the Hinkley Point nuclear plant when and if it ever obtains approval.

Finland has now cancelled their option for a second one of these after their first project was delayed by nine (yes NINE) years and the costs escalated from 3.2billion Euros to 8.5 billion. In the US, seven ERPs were planned but all applications have now been abandoned or suspended. In Canada, all three intended sites have been scrapped. In Italy, all four planned projects have been rejected. The UAE selected a South Korean reactor technology over the ERP and the French are so far underwater with their Flamanville ERP project that even Jacques Cousteau couldn't save them. No surprise then that the pressure by French and Chinese investors for the British to give this the go-ahead is mounting.

The UK project is a classic mess. The initial support that the UK government gave was when the wholesale price for electricity was 2.5 times the price that it is today. When I refer to support, I don't mean the £18 billion it is going to cost to build, I mean the estimated £30 billion over the next 35 years that the taxpayer will pay in subsidies. The spot price of electricity is £33 per MWh, Hinkley investors will enter a deal where their guaranteed price of electricity is £97.5 MWh. This is an important test for Teresa May and, irrespective of the Brexit vote, she needs to make a decision that is right for Britain. Bon Chance!

Electricity (1)