Letter from Charles Barnett published in the East Anglian Daily Times, September 2016 ,
The Government’s decision to proceed with the Hinkley Point C Plant cannot be anything but a catastrophe for the UK! Despite a six-week review period to consider China’s involvement, the project has been commissioned with no significant changes resulting in a strike price double the current energy price and future exposure to very real security risks. The £18 billion project will of course increase substantially as no nuclear power station has ever been built on time and in budget but worse still, nuclear is already an outdated technology. The technology that is being planned for Hinkley has already experienced major setbacks at both Flamanville in France and at Olkiluoto in Finland, where it is nine years behind schedule and three times over budget. There have been reports in Finland of errors in the manufacture of the steel liner; the incorrect laying of the concrete base slab and problems with the instrumentation and control system, resulting in high profile court cases and compensation claims. The Chief Executive of EDF recently said ‘it has been difﬁcult to secure investors, who continue to be spooked by the ghosts of Flamanville in France and Olkiluoto’. No such caution in the UK of course, as Theresa May enters into a new generation of nuclear power despite this catalogue of problems elsewhere in Europe.
The Government‘s decision is made all the more incredulous given that climate policy is driving a global push to renewable power elsewhere in the world, which is far more effective and certainly safer and less hazardous to the planet. Even Parliament’s own ‘Oxburgh Enquiry’ said that it would be far cheaper to rely on clean gas, capturing the C02 from power plants and piping it for storage. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) would save billions of pounds a year and with Government backing it would deliver clean electricity at a lower cost than any nuclear power station. CCS could capture 40% of the UK’s emissions by 2050 and create thousands of jobs. However, despite committing £18 billion to new nuclear, the Government has cancelled the £1billion CCS development, citing high costs as the reason.
The ’Shut Down Sizewell Campaign’ remains totally committed to a non-nuclear future for energy believing that it is completely outdated and unnecessary in a modern world of renewable power. in the light of these very real concerns regarding cost, efficiency and outdated technology, surely the likelihood of Sizewell C proceeding must now be even more unlikely than ever?