Sellafield plan: government guaranteed construction debt and only 5000 cubic metres of radioactive waste

Tom Samson, the chief executive of NuGen, a company planning a plant in Cumbria, has referred to a ‘fog’ which should lift in order for him to see the path ahead.

Andrew Bounds (FT), in an article on the subject, failed to mention the more sensitive reasons for the four year delay in EDF’s construction of a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. His colleague, Jim Pickard, was not so reticent. Though not mentioning the Finnish problems, he wrote about the reasons for escalating costs at its flagship Flamanville project in Normandy:

“The £7bn French scheme — designed to showcase new atomic technology — is based on an “EPR” European pressurised reactor, the same model that will be used in Hinkley. Further concerns mounted last week when a leaked report from France’s nuclear safety watchdog highlighted faults in Flamanville’s cooling system. That followed a warning in April by the French Nuclear Safety Regulator that there was an excessive amount of carbon in the steel of the reactor vessel”.

moorside sellafield

NuGen’s proposed £15bn plant at Moorside, to the north and west of Sellafield (above) in Cumbria, could be generating by the mid-2020s, as the UK government can guarantee construction debt, which is “crucial”, Mr Samson said. The government is expected to seek a lower ‘strike price’ with NuGen than at Hinkley Point, which has been guaranteed a revenue of £92.50 per megawatt hour, linked to inflation, for 35 years.

EDF builds the “EPR” European pressurised reactor and NuGen’s Moorside would use three AP1000 pressurised water reactors built by Westinghouse.The model is untried, but will enter service in China in two years’ time and others are being installed in the US. For concerns about the AP 1000’s design and materials, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AP1000.

The UK government is said to be committed to nuclear power as a clean source of energy generation

Mr Samson said “We encourage the government and local community to find a [long-term storage] solution” as the waste for the 60-year life of the Moorside plant would fill two Olympic-sized swimming pools”.

Cleaner than solar, wind and hydro?

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Posted on July 13, 2015, in Economy, Environment, Finance, Government, Health, Local government, Planning, Taxpayers' money, Vested interests and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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