I have just read a story on the Telegraph website
"Olympics chief Lord Deighton to bring nuclear power stations to Britain"
"The man who delivered the Olympic Games to Britain has been brought in by the Government to kick-start negotiations on bringing new nuclear power stations to Britain."
It should be remembered that the Olympics were only delivered successfully, after having tripled the original budget, and slashing the amount of money that should have gone to grass roots sport and legacy building.
The secret government negotiations with EdF now look like they are heading in much the same way. The treasury are obviously getting involved because a overly generous strike price is not enough on its own for EdF to hedge all their risks, and hence give them guaranteed profits in perpetuity.
The cost of the two reactor complex at Hinkley point C is now publicly estimated to be at least 14 Billion. If I triple an earlier estimate for the build costs (£8 Billion), that would give Lord Deighton a maximum "Olympics" style tripled budget of £24 Billion, to play with.
I agree Lord Deighton could get a new 3.2 GW EPR Nuclear complex built for between £14 and £24 Billion. However just because I agree he could do it, doesn't mean I think this is the right or rationally correct thing to do.
A rational basis comes from, a full cost benefit analysis (including an examination opportunities lost), and this depends on a lot of other factors, especially concerning what we don't end up doing in terms of developing new improved and more cost effective nuclear technologies.
You might say that giving an error range for the building costs of between £14 and £24 billion is too large. However we have yet to see a EPR nuclear power station finished, let alone any proper transparency over the costs and how they can escalate if certain critical build operations go wrong like concrete pours etc. So who knows?
As far as I can see it, the only way of pushing significant new money into new innovative nuclear and renewable energy solutions (solar, wind, tidal etc), is to declare the existing third generation nuclear technologies as not fit for purpose, and thus against the long term interest of the nation, in terms of cost, build times, flexibility, the consequences worst case accidents and unresolved waste management issues.
Apparently, according to the Telegraph
"Lord Deighton, the former chief executive of the London Olympic organising committee and a former banker at Goldman Sachs, is seen as a "doer" who can get big projects off the ground."
Well yes the UK does need rebooting, especially in terms of rebuilding its capacity for engineering creativity, engineering skills, infrastructure and supply chains. However we can't do this on the back of over generous government subsidy, and short sighted enthusiasm for expensive and third rate technological solutions of the past.