Monday, 21 October 2013

The new Nuclear age in the UK

So Britain is to allow new Nuclear power plants to be built for the first time in a long time. • s The government has given the go-ahead for the UK's first new nuclear station in a generation. France's EDF Energy will lead a consortium, which includes Chinese investors, to build the Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset. Ministers say the deal will help take the UK towards low-carbon power and lower generating costs in future. Critics warn guaranteeing the group a price for electricity at twice the current level will raise bills. "For the first time, a nuclear station in this country will not have been built with money from the British taxpayer," said Secretary of State for Energy Edward Da • ce The two reactors planned for Hinkley, which will provide power for about 60 years, are a key part of the coalition's drive to shift the UK away from fossil fuels towards low-carbon power. Ministers and EDF have been in talks for more than a year about the minimum price the company will be paid for electricity produced at the site, which the government estimates will cost £16bn to build. The two sides have now agreed the "strike price" of £92.50 for every megawatt hour of energy Hinkley C generates. This is almost twice the current wholesale cost of electr Tive' This will fall to £89.50 for every megawatt hour of energy if EDF Group goes ahead with plans to develop a new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk. Doing both would allow EDF to share costs across both projects. Mr. Davey said the deal was "competitive" with other large-scale clean energy and gas projects. David Cameron:"It kick-starts again the British nuclear industry" "While consumers won't pay anything up front, they'll share directly in any gains made from the project coming in under budget," he added. John Cridland, director-general of business lobby group the CBI, welcomed what he said was a "landmark deal". "It's important to remember this investment will help mitigate the impact of increasing costs. The fact is whatever we do, energy prices are going to have to go up to replace ageing infrastructure and meet climate change targets - unless we build new nuclear as part of a diverse energy mix." However, Dr Paul Dorfman, from the Energy Institute at University College London, said "what it equates to actually be a subsidy and the coalition said they would never subsidise nuclear". He added: "It is essentially a subsidy of between what we calculate to be £800m to £1bn a year that the UK taxpayer and energy consumer will be putting into the deep pockets of Chinese and French corporations, which are essentially their govern Vests Chinese companies China National Nuclear Corporation and China General Nuclear Power Corporation will be minority shareholders in the project. The move follows Chancellor George Osborne's announcement last week that Chinese firms would be allowed to invest in civil nuclear projects in the UK. Prime Minister David Cameron said that the new Hinkley Point plant was "an excellent deal for Britain and British cons Well we shall see about that. Little to no mention has been made on nuclear waste and what is to come of that. All this sounds very good apart from the fact that this will not bring down prices for ordinary people. Nationalisation is one thing the left will call for no doubt but nothing short of workers control will do to ensure affordable prices for all. I am not in favor of state capitalism and effectively this is what we have here all be it ownership from abroad with China and France getting in on the act it would seem. The world has a bumpy future in terms of energy if capitalism is allowed to continue to exist I confidently predict. The demand for more and more energy will force the capitalists into more and more risky acts to gain a competitive edge including the controversial practice of fracking which I’ve blogged about before too. With the first new power station being built in the UK in a generation will this signal a turn back to nuclear in the long term? All remains to be seen.

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