Nationalising 'our' new nuclear power stations: It’s absurd that Hinkley is going ahead while cheaper, cleaner options are blocked
t’s finally happened. After weeks of speculation, and despite a hastily called review by Theresa May, the government has given a green light to the most expensive white elephant of a project in British history.
The nuclear power station proposed at Hinkley Point is no ordinary piece of infrastructure. Indeed, according to Greenpeace it will be the most costly object ever built on Earth. A large chunk of the funds for the construction will come from China as part of a deal that will see it lead on the development of another reactor in Bradwell, Essex.
EDF, an energy company owned by the French state, will stump up the rest of the construction costs. Just months after people in this country voted to “take back control”, ministers want to place a big chunk of our energy system in the hands of foreign governments.
The amount of cash for this project that is set to be provided by UK taxpayers is eye-watering. The National Audit Office produced a detailed report in July on the viability of nuclear power in the UK, significantly revising its estimates of the “contract for difference” subsidies, up from £6.1bn to £29.7bn. Essentially, UK bill payers and businesses are underwriting the whole project through a promise of unjustifiably high payments for every unit of electricity produced.
This is a terrible deal that has been slammed by economists and environmentalists alike for locking us into paying twice the current wholesale electricity price for 35 years.