Following huge delays and over spending on the Hinkley Point C project, EDF has suggested it could build a second nuclear power station for up to £5 billion less than the previous.
The French Energy giant has announced that a second power plant, Sizewell C in Suffolk, could be built with the cost of construction reduced by 25% by “copying and pasting” large aspects of Hinkley Point – the first new large scale nuclear facility in a generation.
It is said Hinkley, which is due to be operational in 2025, will cost at least £19.6 billion to build although could be as much as £20.3 billion if delays push its operation dates back by two years.
The plant being proposed will be just one of a series of new nuclear power stations planned to replace the industry’s ageing fleet.
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 by academics and MPs alike.
Meanwhile countries around the world are working to remove nuclear from their energy mixes, including France which has recently accelerated its shift away from the power source due to growing concerns over its fleet.
Japan is another country that is reducing its reliance on nuclear. Of the 42 commercially viable units available in Japan, only 4 are in use as all reactors had to be relicensed after a new regulator was set up following the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
The type of reactor that is currently under construction at Hinkley Point has never been successfully build as projects in France and China have all been delayed.
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. While the reduction in construction costs at Sizewell will reduce the cost of energy, it will still be heavily reliant on government subsidies.
Despite the costs associated with the project and growing global concerns over nuclear energy, Prime Minister Theresa May signed off Hinkley Point C in 2017 amid widespread criticisms.