Daily Telegraph 11 June 2020

China’s threat to boycott Britain’s insane nuclear plan is wonderful news

Britain’s nuclear expansion plan is lunacy, and China’s threat to walk away is an unexpected Godsend


[Extract] “It no longer makes any commercial sense to build large nuclear plants ever again in Britain. They are prohibitively expensive.

Reactors are being shut down across the US despite Herculean efforts by the Trump administration to save the industry. One reactor at Indian Point in New York closed in April. Its sister unit will go next year.

Construction of the V.C. Summer project in South Carolina has been abandoned after $7bn of sunk investment. The state governor says the misadventure will cost the average household in Horry County some $6,200.

Reactors have been zero-carbon workhorses since the 1950s but trying to meet post-Chernobyl and post-Fukushima safety demands has priced new models out of the market.

New nuclear cannot compete in the US with cheap shale gas. It cannot compete in the UK with this island’s particular bonanza: limitless wind on the Dogger Bank and the shallow waters of the North Sea, backed by galloping cost gains in energy storage.

[And of EDF] “EDF know they can never make money out of it,” said Professor Steve Thomas, a nuclear expert at Greenwich University. “We would be doing them a kindness to pull out so they can concentrate on extending the life of their reactors in France for another twenty years. There would have to be a political sweetener to save face.”

The piece concludes “If China pulls the plug, it clarifies the issue. We can bin the whole misguided notion of nuclear expansion and look to cheaper, cleaner, safer, and quicker sources of power.”