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UK nuclear power plant gets go-ahead

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#1 +Frank B.

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:43

UK nuclear power plant gets go-ahead

 

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 Davey.

 

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 electricity.

 

'Competitive'

 

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

 

"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 is 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 governments."

 

China invests

 

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 consumers".

 

"This underlines the confidence there is in Britain and makes clear that we are very much open for business," he added.

 

Labour's shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint said the party supported the development of new nuclear power stations, but would scrutinise the terms of the deal to ensure it delivered value for money for consumers.

 

"The potential costs of this agreement make it all the more crucial that we end the rip-offs and have an energy market that people trust," she added.

 

The existing plant at Hinkley currently produces about 1% of the UK's total energy, but this is expected to rise to 7% once the expansion is complete in 2023.

 

The announcement is not legally binding and it will be 2014 before EDF makes a final investment decision on the project. The plans will also require state aid clearance from the European Commission.

 

But it comes as concerns about domestic energy bills move up the agenda, with SSE, British Gas and Npower, three of the UK's "big six" gas and electricity suppliers, all having announced price increases.

 

The government estimates that with new nuclear power - including Hinkley - the average energy bill in 2030 will be £77 lower than it would have been without the new plants.

 

Energy UK, the trade body for the industry, said the agreement on Hinkley was "good news".

 

"Building new power stations is never quick or cheap, but in the case of Hinkley development, nothing goes on the bill until 2020," it said.

 

About 25,000 jobs are expected to be created during construction of the power plant, as well as 900 permanent jobs during its 60-year operation.

 

Source: BBC News




#2 DocM

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 16:46

Good. Modern reactors are safe, some designs being meltdown proof, they produce clean power and even if a typical leak happens they release far less radiation than a coal powered plant does 24/7/365.

#3 Sandor

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 16:50

 

"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 Davey.

 

...and you can guarantee, to your last penny, that it'll end up costing a fortune in bills down the road to make up for it



#4 Andre S.

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 16:58

Good. Modern reactors are safe, some designs being meltdown proof, they produce clean power and even if a typical leak happens they release far less radiation than a coal powered plant does 24/7/365.

QFT. It would be interesting to know exactly what type of reactor will be used in these projects; last time I checked there were lots of interesting tech in development.



#5 Tech Star

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 17:14

Time to put sanctions on the UK. Seems like they are trying to build nuclear weapons. 

 

Real talk though, good for them. Nuclear is the future and it will get better and better as more research and money is put into it. 



#6 jakem1

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 17:16

Another expensive white elephant from a government that's only interested in making life easy for big business.  Ed Davey should be ashamed of himself.  This is a massive backward step at a time when sensible countries such as Germany are decommissioning nuclear plants.  Still, it should please the half wits.



#7 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 17:16

Despite the bad press nuclear energy is an important tool in reducing our dependence on foreign fuel and meeting internationally agreed upon emission targets to minimise the impact of climate change. My issue with this deal is that it's a lot of taxpayer money going to private companies when the UK should be investing in this itself, as is the case in France and China. Further, the UK should be committing for more reactors in order to benefit from economies of scale. There was a very interesting article on the matter in New Scientist for those interested.



#8 DocM

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 18:05

Another expensive white elephant from a government that's only interested in making life easy for big business. Ed Davey should be ashamed of himself. This is a massive backward step at a time when sensible countries such as Germany are decommissioning nuclear plants. Still, it should please the half wits.

You do realize that most enviroental groups have rethought their antinuclear policies? As noted,modern designs are FAR different than the historic problem reactors.

Some physically cannot melt down, even with a complete coolant loss, and some have molten (salt + fuel) cores from the get-go so a "meltdown" is meaningless. Some designs are the size of a hot tub and require zero maintenance, allowing them to be buried for 60-80 years before being replaced & recycled. Some don't even use Uranium as the primary fuel but Thorium, which is far more abundant.

Time to catch up.

#9 thealexweb

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 18:11

Another expensive white elephant from a government that's only interested in making life easy for big business.  Ed Davey should be ashamed of himself.  This is a massive backward step at a time when sensible countries such as Germany are decommissioning nuclear plants.  Still, it should please the half wits.

 

I saw an interesting article from the Telegraph about how Germany's green push was damaging their industrial base because their fuel bills were so high. I was gonna link it in but I can't find it now :/ I like the ideas on renewables but they aren't a perfect solution,



#10 ShadowMajestic

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 18:14

The new reactors are better for nature because they also clean up 'used' fuel from other reactors and output much less quantities of radiation than they actually obtain as a fuel.

Glad at least one country in the EU still invests in it. Currently it is the cleanest way of producing electricity by far.



#11 MightyJordan

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 18:20



...and you can guarantee, to your last penny, that it'll end up costing a fortune in bills down the road to make up for it

Close; the government will be giving them a guaranteed "strike rate" of £90-£95 per megawatt hour of electricity generated, which is double the current market rate. http://www.independe...ll-8893023.html

 

There is a good deal of irony here. To the Tories, "nationalisation" is a dirty word, and yet they've just struck a big-money deal with three foreign nationalised energy companies from two countries. Meanwhile they're letting our own privatised energy companies gouge customers even more by raising prices next month around 10% when British Gas (the biggest of the big six in the country) already make £22 profit a SECOND.



#12 McKay

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 18:31

Close; the government will be giving them a guaranteed "strike rate" of £90-£95 per megawatt hour of electricity generated, which is double the current market rate. http://www.independe...ll-8893023.html

 

There is a good deal of irony here. To the Tories, "nationalisation" is a dirty word, and yet they've just struck a big-money deal with three foreign nationalised energy companies from two countries. Meanwhile they're letting our own privatised energy companies gouge customers even more by raising prices next month around 10% when British Gas (the biggest of the big six in the country) already make £22 profit a SECOND.

 

I always find it annoying how every price rise by British Gas is always announced by a very apologetic, sorry looking big wig who stresses they had no choice to do it, to stay afloat. 3 months later we're shown ecstatic looking board members partying as British Gas announce record profits yet another year in a row. 



#13 Aheer.R.S.

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 18:35

I remember a report as a child that someone important said nuke plants aren't efficient in the UK as we use 220-240 volts ac.
Sorry I couldn't find a source as I mentioned this was back in the eatly 80's, Sellafield was all over the news back then.

#14 Aheer.R.S.

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 18:37

I always find it annoying how every price rise by British Gas is always announced by a very apologetic, sorry looking big wig who stresses they had no choice to do it, to stay afloat. 3 months later we're shown ecstatic looking board members partying as British Gas announce record profits yet another year in a row.

If the entire nation banded together and simply refused to lie down and accept this, so many changes could be made.

#15 DocM

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 18:38

I remember a report as a child that someone important said nuke plants aren't efficient in the UK as we use 220-240 volts ac.
Sorry I couldn't find a source as I mentioned this was back in the eatly 80's, Sellafield was all over the news back then.


That's ridiculous.