One thing we have learnt this week – Is nuclear dead?

Is nuclear dead? Yes is the short answer.  The longer answer is slightly more nuanced.  This week Toshiba abandoned plans for a new nuclear power plant at Moorside near Sellafield.  Its not really a surprise.  The project has looked half baked from the start.  Toshiba took over Westinghouse’s nuclear business in the US and tried to build 4 Westinghouse AP1000’s there.  This led to near bankruptcy and Toshiba having to sell its chip business.  The idea was to build several of these units at Moorside opening in 6 years time.  Now this project has collapsed.  The problem is multifaceted for nuclear.  No one has found a way to build without some kind of subsidy.  The costs keep rising.  And renewables are now not just cheaper but an order of magnitude cheaper (and getting cheaper as nuclear is doing the opposite).  Our book was very much criticized by a leading nuclear proponent, but I would point out that since then no new nuclear has been built in the UK or the US and all the schemes are collapsing.  Renewables and energy storage are not.  I accept that we cannot simply replace our current lifestyle and run it on renewables.  We need to double our electricity output to electrify the economy and will be difficult to do by renewables only.  However is nuclear dead?  Yes its too expensive dangerous and no on knows what to do with the waste.  The future belongs to wind, solar and energy storage along with hopefully tidal power in the longer term.

Neil

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