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May 03, 2005

Nuclear Power Expansion

Reports that there will be an announcement after the election to expand nuclear power. Good, it’s long been obvious that this is the only way to reduce CO2 emissions. It will also cause various greenies and lefty types to explode which is an added bonus.

One senior Government adviser has advanced the case for nuclear power accounting for 35pc of electricity generation, against 23pc currently.

My only problem is the paucity of the target. Why not aim for 70% like France? Are we not meant to be becoming more European?

One suggestion as well. Currently it will be necessary to have a public inquiry for each and every plant, in order to get planning permission. Of course, people like Greenpeace and FOE will fight tooth and nail to drag these enquiries out. Given the way the financing works (huge up front costs, low running costs) delays atthe start of the prcess have a huge impact upon costs. If there is a two to four year enquiry for each plant, the system will never work.

I would suggest then that there be one enquiry, to which all can put whatever objections they want, this then being used as the bleuprint for all subsequent ones. Whatever questions were raised at the first cannot be raised again.

Then again, with the centralization of planning powers under Prescott, why have public enquiries at all?

May 3, 2005 in Nuclear | Permalink


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I would suggest then that there be one enquiry, to which all can put whatever objections they want, this then being used as the bleuprint for all subsequent ones.

Indeed, we are becoming more European. :)

Posted by: Tim Newman | May 3, 2005 10:11:15 AM

The worry for Labour is that the lefty greeny voters are heading towards the Lib-Dems. Labour can't afford to lose too many more of them. Hence, Labour will continue to cave into the greens just enough to create these sorts of problems.

And no doubt the opportunist agrarian socialists in the Conservative Party will press the Tories to promise no nuclear reactors, which will add to the mess.

Posted by: Scott Campbell at Blithering Bunny | May 3, 2005 10:37:34 AM

Can't we just build them in France :)

Tim adds: We already get 3% of our electricty from those stations via the interconnect. Some 10x what we currently get from wind power.

Posted by: Rub-a-Dub | May 3, 2005 10:44:47 AM

How about one public enquiry to investigate the need and feasability of nuclear power, but without reference to where? The number of power stations required can be decided and then they can be built in the most practical locations without the need for futher enquiry.

Posted by: lascivious | May 3, 2005 1:20:34 PM

If you are planning on building a load of nuclear power stations, please lose our 'phone number.


The private capital market.

Posted by: dsquared | May 3, 2005 1:33:58 PM

If hypocrisy were a form of energy this otherwise unsullied blog could power a small town. Everyday you extol the virtues of the freemarket except when you extol the virtues of an energy source that requires massive government subsidies, a rigged electricity market and the state to underwrite its insurance liabilities.

Tim adds: As you may have noted, I do talk at times about the requirement to rig the market at times, so that externalities are properly taken account of. CO2 can be said to be one of those. You might even read back a few days to where I note the new report explaining that subsidizing windmills is even more expensive than subsidizing nuclear...if, that is, we are actually going to try and deal with the externality of CO2. You could also, if you really wanted to go looking, note that I have several times complained that nuclear pays the Climate Change Levy...odd, as it does not emit CO2.

In short, all non0fossil fules need market rigging...nuclear less than some others.

Hypocrisy? I think not. Nuance? Possibly.

Posted by: Yonder | May 3, 2005 2:33:49 PM

There's an interesting item in the Hootsmon today suggesting that, in Scotland at least, public enquiries (or any kind of democratic oversight of the "planning" process) is about to be abolished. (See http://www.theherald.co.uk/politics/38443.shtml)

It might just mean more windfarms (boo!) but it might also mean clearing the decks for more nuclear stations.

Posted by: Andrew Duffin | May 3, 2005 3:20:46 PM

Wind is subsidised through the Renewables Obligation -- a mechanism of awe-inspiring stupidity that pays wind much more than it needs to turn in a profit. Nevertheless (onshore) wind is already cheaper than nuclear -- by which I mean the nuclear we've actually got in the form of Sizewell B etc rather than the nuclear industry's oft-quoted best-case scenario for a new generation of nuclear power stations based on a design that has never been built anywhere in the world. One also doubts whether the report you mention factors in the decommissioning costs of nuclear i.e. a total of £50 billion for the current nuclear 'fleet'. As for CO2, I'm glad you consider it a problem. The concern of the nuclear lobby for the well-being of the planet is deeply moving. Sadly, nuclear represents a less cost-effective approach than many alternatives, such as energy efficiency, and thus an opportunity cost in terms of carbon mitigation. Nuclear power is state power in all it centralising, wasteful glory.

Posted by: Yonder | May 3, 2005 5:35:29 PM