It is handy to open with the thought of Fukushima and Chernobyl, both disasters. Chernobyl saw the fallout kill sheep in Cumbria. The point is Nuclear power is dangerous and in a disaster could cost lives as we have seen in the past and present. The disturbing thing for me is, the government is making long-term plans to keep the UK on nuclear power despite the obvious global push towards renewable energy, which is becoming more mainstream and cheaper than nuclear power. So the question remains, why is the government getting cosy with EDF and its Chinese backers?
EDF runs 8 nuclear plants in the UK, 4 were shut down in 2014 as a result of safety and functional issues, in France EDF has major issues, from faulty reactor parts to outages. Full story
So this is a firm with a bad track record in managing nuclear power, in reality a troubled organisation. The May government clearly can’t see what is plain, the UK’s nuclear story is a disaster. The Chinese partners are looking to build new plants in Sizewell and Bradwell, investing in Hinkley just paves the way. No disrespect but do we really want China managing our nuclear power stations? I know what my answer is. Is it that we are so desperate to deal with China that sense has exited the building? First it was steel that cost 8,000 jobs, now nuclear power. While some will sight the upside of 20,000 new jobs created but EDF has a history of cutting new jobs created to save cost of managing, so I am doubtful of the long-term benefit. The EU has already sighted safety concerns for the continent and demanded they be consulted on future projects, which the UK government has agreed.
Let’s look at the cost to the tax payer. Power would be supplied at £92.50/MWh over 35 years, double the current wholesale price. There is also inadequate insurance liability, meaning the tax payer would likely cover the shortfall in the event of accidents that will occur not to mention the £10m loan guarantee. Hinkley is a bad deal, a desperate bid by EDF to boost its already tarnished image at the expense of the UK consumer.
So why is the UK not looking at renewable, seeing nuclear accounts for 10% of power supply? On-shore wind comes in incredibly cheaper than nuclear and there is a lot of innovation in renewable energy, it is unfair to commit the country to a very expensive deal that benefits only China and EDF for 35 years without us knowing the future. See article on renewable’s
Let’s face it, this could be the disaster of the 21st century, Hinkley has resumed development after delays based on court decisions in France against some of EDF’s failing plants amidst safety concerns. It is time we all asked the question… Do we want a Chernobyl?