Lord Hutton, chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association has written an article that addresses none of the concerns that engineers have over 3rd Generation Nuclear.
He has written an article in the Telegraph entitled
"Why Britain must make nuclear work"
However he is not talking about nuclear in general he is talking in particular about the nuclear technologies incorporated into 3rd Generation reactors, in particular EdF/Areva's EPR.
His first sentence I agree with:
"Without power, businesses cannot thrive and grow, nor can individuals go about their daily lives. Securing our energy supplies is vital to our national security."
But then he goes on as if third generation nuclear was our only option going forward.
And leads to another sentence which when the word 3rd Generation is inserted makes more sense.
"Failure to reach agreement on the price of [3rd Generation] nuclear electricity threatens not only the first new [3rd Generation] nuclear power station for a generation, but potentially all those [3rd Generation nuclear power stations] that will [would?] come in its wake."
Yes. Yes. Yes. Great, the failure of this programme is just what I want. I want us to abandon our 3rd generation nuclear aspirations, so that we engineers have the freedom and opportunity to work seriously hard to develop better, cheaper and safer technologies instead.
He goes on to say...
"Once agreed, the contract for difference can serve the twin aims of providing a fair return for investors and a fair price for consumers, both for the cost of electricity generated, as well as the upfront investment required."
How do we know? All the negotiations are being conducted in secret with one selected player, EdF. We don't know the strike price and we don't know what add-ons to the strike price are being negotiated, in terms of loan guarantees (since EdF can only sell bonds with little above junk bond status, given their current level of indebtedness and future prospects), and publicly funded bailouts if the project runs over its projected budget.
Having tried to get rid of our state owned energy monopolies, is the solution now to install other countries state owned monopoly providers in their place!
From the next quote it becomes clear that Lord Hutton is not a free market enthusiast, and would indeed like to return us to the days of state owned monopolies...
"Left to its own devices, the market would not choose to invest in capital-intensive low-carbon infrastructure. This would lead us to a precarious, high-carbon future increasingly dependent on imported gas."
More nonsense comes in the following sentence
"Nuclear can, and will, provide a long-term, consistent guarantee that will protect consumers and ensure that energy bills will be less than would be the case if we do nothing."
But no one is proposing we do nothing. If gas prices shoot up the market will find ways of generating energy more cheaply, without copious state subsidies. That is the way the market works! All the government need to do is provide some seed money to help with the initial research and early development of new plausible replacement technologies. The market can then choose which of these might work well and then begin to roll them out using private equity funding.
Lord Hutton is worried about EdF
"EDF Energy has spent £1bn already and the project is at present costing the company £1m a day."
I think EdF are making a lot more money out of supplying the UK public with energy, than they are losing at Hinkley Point C. For EdF this is just pin money put in place to help leverage them a better deal. In any case they are perfectly free to withdraw from the process anytime they want. A lot of people would be celebrating if they did.
Lord Hutton finishes with "There is no Plan B for our energy security."
"Failure exposes Britain to many risks, while success will help settle our energy future and send a strong signal to potential investors that Britain means [subsidised monopolistic] business."
Yes I agree there is no Plan B that will involve Lord Hutton, and thus there is no reason for him to know about it.