Skip to main content

This is what is suggested in a recent article of the Times of London:



French demand high price for `rescuing' nuclear industry with two new reactors (behind pay wall, but accessible here)

According to well-placed industry sources, EDF Energy has told officials that it needs about £165 per megawatt hour, almost four times the existing wholesale price of electricity, if it is to go ahead with Hinkley Point.

(...)

The Government has warned EDF Energy, and its junior partner Centrica, that nuclear power subsidies must be lower than offshore wind power to ensure public acceptance. The company argues that the total costs of the giant new offshore wind projects planned for the North Sea will be £180 per mw/h [sic], making nuclear slightly cheaper.

That this is even in discussion shows how difficult it is to know the price of new nukes. Proponents of nuclear have long argued that nuclear power was really cheap, in the 3-4c/kWh (i.e. 30-40 EUR/MWh) range, and the recent report by the Cour des Comptes in France noted that the actual price of nuclear power in France over the past 30 years had been close to 50 EUR/MWh (see a summary of the report in English here (pdf)). But that was in the good old days when the country could - and knew how to - do industrial policy, and could fund nuclear power plants using sovereign discount rates (5-8% over 30-40 years) rather than private investor discount rates (10-15% over 15-20 years).

The Cour des Comptes notes that future nuclear power was unlikely to be cheaper than 80 EUR/MWh, and massive delays on the Olkiluoto and Flamanville plants being built by Areva in Finland and France (the former now pushed back again to a cumulative 5 year delay at the minimum) have made the calculation even more complicated.

I had heard rumors that EDF could be asking the British government for a 115 GBP/MWh tariff, in itself a stunning admission that nuclear was not so cheap (and making it barely cheaper than offshore wind, which currently benefits from tariffs in the 120-130 GBP/MWh range in the UK, and can be expected to go down significantly over time, as the sector industrializes and gains scale). But 165 GBP/MWh is definitely more expensive than offshore wind (the whole offshore wind industry would jump with joy if offered a flat tariff at that level) and massively more expensive than onshore wind (which costs 60 GBP/MWh or so and could be deployed on a large scale in the UK if it were not for NIMBY obstacles).

Beyond showing the UK government desperation to get some nukes built, this story suggests, more than anything else, that Germany's decision to stop nuclear altogether actually makes economic sense. Of course, it's not going to be easy, and there are serious engineering and technical problems to be solved, but they can be resolved if sufficient commitment is put towards that goal. In Germany, that commitment is there. In the UK, I think it's there as well (offshore wind will not be sacrificed to do nukes), but it's still not seen as the core priority - unless the push for nukes is actually a devious plot to make offshore wind look comparatively cheap...

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 09:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks and Nuclear Free DK.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site