🏭 🏗 🚧 Hinkley C and other mega-projects

Anyone got a view on this. My son told me to turn the radio over to a music channel this morning as he said the discussion about nuclear power stations was ‘boooooooring’. I pointed out that he’d probably be paying the massively inflated costs ( looking like energy costs will be almost double current market prices :lou_surprised:) well after I’m gone.

Anyway, I partly do research into mega-projects for a living so find this saga particularly interesting. I was unsurprised to hear a nuclear industry spokesperson blithely state that the project would be unproblematic because we’ll have learnt the lessons from the Olkiluoto power plant in Finland - that one is probably going to be at least 9 years late and several billion euros over-budget.

Additionally, it seems the technology will be obselete before we even start. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/21/farce-hinckley-nuclear-reactor-haunt-britain

On the flip side, in the new, post-Brexit, brave new world, can we afford to piss off the Chinese with whom we’re going to have to trade like mad to make up for the lost trade with Europe?

My personal view? Scrap the whole idea. The research I and others have done suggests that the risks are enormous and that we are very unlikely to learn from previous debacles. If we go ahead, we’ll be left with a costly white elephant that produces waste rather than consuming waste (integral fast reactors and liquid thoride florium reactors and probably the way to go).

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I think all you have to do is look at China. Are they building new nuclear plants? No, they’re investing heavily in renewable sources and still relying on coal. If the world’s up and coming superpower isn’t looking at nuclear power for itself you have to question what exactly the benefit is to them for this, and why the UK needs a new nuclear plant when it too could be following China’s lead on renewables?

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Actually, they are building two of these EPR plants, in Taishan, and EDF have signed up to build another two. Taishan 1 is a mere two years late.

The long game for China is to provide all the tech (and, it seems, a lot of the top-end workforce) to build the new Bradwell plant in Essex. They don’t really give a stuff about Hinkley - that is a means to an end. If they can get their nuclear plant built at Bradwell, that opens the floodgates for them to build nuclear plants elsewhere in the developed world.

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One hundred years ago, this and other instances of international co-operation would have been unthinkable. I include Trident in this assessment. Completely different applications, but in both cases, we’re effectively letting someone else run something for us. In a world of globalised trade, I’m not sure that autarky is desirable or even possible, but there have to be areas that are always independent, even if it doesn’t turn a financial profit for shareholders.

We cannot rely on the US for our nuclear weapons deterrent. We can’t rely on the Chinese for power or steel. Both of these countries actively work against our own interests to further their own. We need to develop that expertise and keep it in house.

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What is it about the name Hinkley that makes me nervous about environmental disaster?

Where the fuck is Julia Roberts when you need her?


Lol, that reminds me of a very over-looked 1970s supernatural thriller starring Richard Burton, called the Medusa Touch.

Here’s the whole film on youtube. For the relevance to this thread, scroll through to the very end (1hr 41’ - you might have to look up the word to see it’s modern connotation). However, the film is good fun in any case and worth a watch I’d say…

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Mega (Vanity) Projects do my nut in.

HS1 & 2. Bollocks. A waste of money, and not required in our tiny little country.


The Medusa Touch is a godawful movie. It’s sad to watch Burton going through the motions :slight_frown:

This is not about safety, securing power supplies or even money, it’s about politics - regardless of what you think of May or the Tories - they’ve just bent over and assumed the position (for the UK to be shafted politically and financially)

The Govt is morally bankrupt…

The ones getting shafted will be us. Outturn costs will be who knows what. The levels of uncertainty are scary. The National Audit Office (the Government’s own spending watchdog) has estimated that all-in, costs will reach £30 billion! (The NAO report, in case you’re interested).That’s a massive dollop of money for EDF (assuming they run the course and don’t go bust in the process).

Then we have the mountains of nuclear waste to tackle. Sellafield is being wound down so what do we do with it all? There isn’t any sensible plan except to store it at a Sellafield-like facility.

Hinkley C is supposed to last 60 years. When those 60 years are up, then what? Billions and billions in decommissioning.

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I hope the guys who negotiate our energy deals are allowed nowhere near the Brexit table.

We do seem to be woefully short of quality when it comes to government and their advisors.

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HS1 already exists (channel tunnel up to London).

HS2 I have a bit more sympathy with. The roads are ludicrously congested and ease of movement north-south would, on balance, be benficial to the north. There is a real capacity issue with the West Coast mainline but the billions that would be spent on HS2 could probably be better spent of a slew of other, less ambitious projects which, together, achieve a better result.

Of course, the current mega project which is getting very little scrutiny is Crossrail (at a cool £15 billion). Crossrail2 is in the pipeline and could cost anything from £20-£27 billion, depending on which option they go for.

A neighbour of mine (who lives closer to Eva Carniero than I do btw) has been moved from a planning job on HS2 to Crossrail 2

From what I gather, the disruption to people could be much worse than HS2. As it will be a London- centric project expect fireworks a factor of 10 higher than we’ve had for HS2 as details are slowly leaked…particularly as the economic case hasn’t been proven.

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Hinkley C is looking like a worse and worse idea. Part of the problem is the huge lead time on an existing technologycoupled with the rubbish deal the government has ‘negotiated’. This report from UCL makes the whole thing look like a total crock of shit:

Hinkley Point to be obsolete within a decade, UCL analysis suggests

The planned Hinkley Point C nuclear plant will be outpaced by cheaper, lower-carbon energy sources that will render it largely obsolete within a decade of opening, new University College London analysis published today indicates.

The analysis, based on National Grid’s own energy scenarios, shows that by 2030 wind and solar energy sources will, for increasing periods of the year, be meeting all the UK’s electricity needs. With Hinkley not expected to being operating until well into the 2020s, the plant is likely to be directly competing with more environmentally-friendly, and often much cheaper, energy sources – effectively tying the British consumer and taxpayer to an increasingly obsolete and irrelevant source of energy.



Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors :laughing: Just thought I’d put that out there … It’s the way forward for energy or something

The real way forward would be nuclear fusion. If we could crack that nut, we’d be sorted. There are a dozen-or-so projects underway in various parts of the world but it remains just out of reach. According to this article, Britain is one of the most likely countries to crack it, if anyone ever does crack it.

Have I mentioned where I went for a job interview at Hinkley point and crashed and took out the main gate post on the way out :lou_lol:

I got offered the job but turned it down who wants to live in Sommereset

Government / MOD negotiators vs Big company negotiators. I know who I am going to put my money on.