Hinkley Point C

OPINION: Hinkley Point C a poor investment

AS HPC is slowly being built, all the recent evidence from analysts and academics is that the business markets have already moved away from nuclear, and investment is lining up for new renewable projects, writes Jo Smolden.

Financial markets have been saying for a long while that nuclear is a poor investment, yet our government is unable to see and hear it.

The cost for renewables is far lower and continues to fall.

The only way HPC can be paid for is with high subsidies and promises that the British public will pay in the future.

Is that before they buy their weekly food?

It has been said that if energy funding is limited, we need to make a choice between very expensive nuclear and very inexpensive renewables.

The low carbon energy funds need to be invested in new renewable projects and saving energy technology and not swallowed up by failed nuclear designs.

On the subject of carbon dioxide, 103 different studies were analysed by Prof Benjamin Sovacool, who concluded that the average value for nuclear in terms of life cycle emissions was about 66 grams of carbon dioxide for every kilowatt-hour produced.

This compares to about 9 grams per kilowatt-hour for wind and 32 grams per kilowatt-hour for solar.

This puts nuclear as the third-highest carbon emitter after coal-fired plants and natural gas, and is significantly more carbon dioxide in terms of its life cycle than renewable power.

Clearly not zero carbon or even low carbon and not a sensible choice for our future energy production.

So why continue HPC and even begin to contemplate another white elephant at Sizewell on the Suffolk coast?

With Sea level rise predictions being recalculated year on year and the clear evidence that climate disturbance will cause extreme weather events, nuclear power stations will be at risk since climate change will impact coastal nuclear plants earlier and harder than is currently expected.

HPC together with radioactive waste stores, including spent fuel located on the coasts, will be vulnerable to sea level rise, flooding, and storm surge.

These coastal sites will need considerable investment just to protect them against sea level rise, and in the medium term, they will even be subject to abandonment or relocation.

The cost of renewables is a fraction of the cost of new nuclear.

As Mr Tanaka, a former director of the International Energy Agency and a former long-standing nuclear advocate, says, “nuclear is ridiculously expensive and uncompetitive”.

So, nothing really needs to happen for renewable energy investment to grow.

The reality is that the market has said “no” to nuclear and “yes” to renewables.

When can we see this on the ground here in Somerset and stop wasting time with HPC?

 

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