The British government today announced that it has approved the expansion of a new nuclear fission power plant to be built at Hinkley point, in Somerset in southwest England. The plant will be financed a consortium which includes French state-owned nuclear company EDF Energy and China General Nuclear Power Corporation. When completed in 2023, the plant is expected to provide 7 per cent of all British energy.
In order to secure the deal, it is understood by Westminster insiders that the British government has agreed that it will purchase electricity from the consortium at around £92.50 per megawatt hour — which is twice the current wholesale price of electricity in the UK, which means that there appears to be no end in sight for the rising of cost of energy in the United Kingdom.
Supporters of the project claim that in the long term it will mean lower carbon emissions and stability and even reduction of energy prices in the long term (compared to alternatives).
British energy secretary Ed Davey said of the deal, “It’s very likely that energy price rises that we’ve seen over recent years, gas prices, that gas will go up. So if we rely on gas and existing sources, we will be really in trouble.”
“By making this sort of investment, actually, we’re making sure we don’t put all our eggs in one basket, we’re making sure we’ve got a mixed energy system with not just gas, but replacing our nuclear power stations and building the renewables as well. We’re going to need all the low-carbon electricity in the future because the carbon prices are going to go up.”
Opponents of the agreement point out that costs could spiral out of control, especially of the agreed-on price of electricity is tied to overall inflation. Details of the yet-to-be-signed contract have not been published. And of course there is the ongoing controversy over safety issues connected with nuclear fission.
Already Britons are facing increases of natural gas prices of up to 10 per cent this winter, and without something dramatic happening on the energy front, the nation seems to be heading to a future of ever-increasing energy prices leading to adverse economic and social impacts.
And again, there seems to be no indication that political or business leaders involved in long-term decision making regarding energy are anticipating any game-changing impact from LENR. I hope for the sake of the UK, and people everywhere, that before long, good news on that front will come along and leaders can re-think their future energy strategies.