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Renewables are cheaper than Nuclear – final chapter? | your passport to complaining

The nuclear power industry has changed it’s marketing approach recently. New nuclear reactor construction prices are so high that the contracting construction companies have had to negotiate sweetheart deals guaranteeing artificially high prices to insure their profitability. The most recent example of this is Hinkley C in the UK.

Reasonable people try to stop unreasonable governments

George Monbiot is an influential environmental columnist for the UK Guardian. He is normally pro-nuclear. But of the proposed Hinkley C reactor he writes:

Nils Pratley warned in the Guardian last week that “if Hinkley Point’s entire output is tied to the rate of inflation for 40 years, we could be staring at a truly astronomical cost by the end of the contract.” The City analyst he consulted reassured him that “the government surely can’t be that dumb”. Oh yes? Payment to the operators, the government now tells us, will be “fully indexed to the consumer prices index”. Guaranteed income for corporations, risk assumed by the taxpayer: this deal looks as bad as any private finance initiative contract.

That’s not the only respect in which the price is too high. A fundamental principle of all development is that we should know how the story ends. In this case no one has the faintest idea. Cumbria – the only local authority which seemed prepared to accept a dump for the nuclear waste from past and future schemes – rejected the proposal in January. No one should commission a mess without a plan for clearing it up.

But EdF/Areva has learned it’s lessons in new construction building in France and Finland. Both of these reactor projects started estimated at about 3 billion Euros and are now years late and over budget at about 8.5 billion Euros per reactor each.



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