Dash For Gas — And Move On From Nuclear Power Folly

  • Date: 17/02/17
  • Neil Collins, Financial Times

If an industry cannot finance itself after decades, it’s time to try another industry

FT5

Remember “Nuclear power? No thanks”? That sunny, smiling sticker which was almost standard on the back of every Citroen Deux-Chevaux? How we smiled at such naivety. Nuclear power was the future! The fume-belching little 2CV may have gone the way of the Trabant but, after another grim week for the nuclear industry, it seems those stickers may have been right after all.

A financially viable nuclear power station looks increasingly like a mirage. Even the eye-watering guarantee from the UK taxpayer for Hinkley Point C is not enough to cover the risk that building it will bankrupt EDF. Toshiba’s woes have claimed the scalp of its chairman. Hitachi is signalling that its project in Anglesey needs government backing to proceed.

It’s telling that after 60 years of mostly successful operation, commercial viability still eludes the nuclear power industry. …

The cheapest and quickest fix is to build gas-fired power stations, to tap into worldwide abundance and increasingly diverse supply, even before domestic fracking gets going in the UK. Unfortunately, the artificial barriers imposed by today’s energy policy are preventing this subsidy-free solution….

Abandoning nuclear means facing reality on the likely path of future carbon dioxide emissions. It means repealing the Climate Change Act with its arbitrary targets for dramatic cuts, passed near-unanimously by parliament in 2007 in an orgy of self-indulgence. Legislate in haste, repent at leisure.

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