Friday 31 October 2014

pro-nuclear analyst calls for Hinkley C to be abandoned

Chris Goodall, one of those pro-nuclear greens who saw the radioactive light a few years ago but who didn't notice the sheer uneconomic nature of nuclear power has now realised that the Hinkley C project is such a shambles that it ought to be abandoned. He reports the comments of a nuclear engineering expert as saying that the Hinkley C EPR design is 'unconstructable'.

Goodall fears for the future of nuclear power if the project goes ahead. But then all EDF has to do is to take the UK Government for the complete suckers that they are since they have given the project a blank cheque in all but name to pay for what is all but certain to be a colossal financial disaster. It will be the UK Government, or more precisely, UK electricity consumers who will pay dearly, most likely well over and above the the facade of the £92.50 per MWh over 35 years price tag, complete with £10 billion of loan guarantees.

He says: 'by focussing on the increasingly unpopular EPR design, the country may have saddled itself with an unmanageable and hugely expensive construction project that will sour the prospects of all other nuclear technologies for another generation.
Perhaps those of us who still believe in the value of nuclear power should pray that sceptical investors refuse to commit their funds to the Hinkley project.'
I'm sorry Chris, but those of us who thought more deeply about nuclear  a long time ago realised the project was doomed in the post 1950s world. Goodall's article comes out with gems such as the notion that engineers could learn from one large nuclear power project to another is false since each project is unique for a given site so that there is little transferable learning. Well I'm sorry, Chris, but I remember Steve Thomas (now at Greenwich University) telling me precisely this way back in 1991 when I went to visit him when he was working at the Science Policy Research Unit at Sussex.

You're really not telling us anything we don't know already.

But now Chris is giving credence to the gathering nonsense about small 'modular'  nuclear reactors. Oh give me strength! Please........I know people go on about small PWRs in nuclear submarines. These things cost billions to build, not all on the reactors of course, but it looks like it cost hundreds of millions of pounds just to build a reactor that generates a few megawatts of electricity! And that's with an easy, implicit solution, to coolant supply problems.

What the latter day 'green converts' to nuclear power should recognise quickly is that the very nature of nuclear power, requiring expensive containment and other safety mechanisms to meet 21st century standards makes it a very unlikely possibility for solving the 21st century's problems.

You can see Chris's article at:

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