It's been a grim month for Nuclear Power, always a contentious issue for greens, power from the atom has taken two steps back as South African utility Eskom announce plans to cancel their tendering process for new nuclear plant in South Africa. It comes a week after revelations from the French economic publication Les Echos reveal that French campaign group "Sortir du nucléaire" have accused EdF of lying during a public consultation exercise which was the prelude to the decision to build a new nuclear plant at Flamanville in France.
Originally, it was announced that power from the Flamanville plant was costed at €43 / MWh, however, delays and added construction costs (a feature of every nuclear plant that has gone before Flamanville) have added to the costs and so the price of nuclear electricity from the plant is now estimated to be €55 / MWh - Les Echos stated that EdF were expected to announce this at their next meeting. The only other nuclear plant under construction is that at Olikuoto in Finland. It is of the same EPR (European Pressurised Reactor) design that is being constructed at Flamanville. The Finnsh reactor has also been plagued with problems and at one point in the construction, French contractor Bouygues were accused of using unqualified welders... quite worrying considering the specialised nature of nuclear engineering!
In an economy where finance is hard to come buy, and the governments of the world are already propping up their economies with massive debt, will massive projects which carry potentially massive liabilities such as nuclear power begin to look even less attractive, whilst smaller unit-cost renewables, with a demonstrable payback within their own life time
written by Christina Macpherson, December 21, 2008
written by John Wheeler, December 21, 2008
written by Bruce Hamilton, December 22, 2008
written by Russell Lowes, December 24, 2008
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