UK academic: reliance on nuclear would be “reckless”

UK academic: reliance on nuclear would be “reckless”

Professor Steve Thomas, a well-known energy economist in the UK, has joined calls to cancel the Hinkley Point nuclear programme.

The UK government first announced its plan to build five nuclear generators as part of its nuclear expansion programme in 2006. The generating stations, one of which would be Hinkley, would produce 16GWs, with the ambition for these to be online by 2030.

However, as the cost of coal and gas power, as well as renewables have fallen, the economic argument for nuclear has weakened – a point raised in Thomas’ report and by MPs from the Commons Public Accounts Committee.

Labour MP, Meg Hillier, who chairs the committee, said: “Its blinkered determination to agree the Hinkley deal, regardless of changing circumstances, means that for years to come energy consumers will face costs running to many times the original estimate”.

Energy from Hinkley point will cost £92.50 per MWh, which equates to £30 billion over the market price for electricity over the projects 35 year lifespan. This is in part down to the mismanagement of the economic planning of the project, which led to MPs to accuse government of failing to protect the interests of UK consumers by not pushing for a better deal.

In the report, the professor states: “The slippage of the nuclear programme by a decade suggests reliance on nuclear to fill a capacity ‘gap’ would be reckless.”

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