Thursday, 29 March 2012

Wylfa B - now far too costly to make commercial sense?

With hindsight maybe we should have foreseen the announcement; that RWE Npower and E.On, would not proceed with the building of nuclear plants in the UK.

After the tragic accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, Germany decided to abandon nuclear power, and their electricity companies faced massive decommissioning costs. See Reuters - Nuclear shutdown costs mount in Germany.

In the UK it was recently re-confirmed by the UK government that new nuclear operators will have to cover their waste and decommissioning costs - see DECC.

Then are the concerns about the new build costs of the third generation nuclear plants. In July 2011, Damian Carrington in his Guardian environmental blog said:

"Time is money, they say, and the new nuclear power plant being built by EDF at Flamanville in France is now at least four years behind time and €2.7bn over budget. EDF blamed the delay on two fatal construction accidents and dealing with safety analyses prompted by the Fukushima disaster."

Maybe some other investors will invest in Wylfa B, but with the world and the UK seeing very low growth; according to the OECD the UK is in recession (see BBC News) - the uncertain costs, the likely project overrun and problems raising the necessary finance what realistic chance is there of that happening?

As an aside, I'm sure there is no truth in the rumours, that the Conservative led Coalition Government talked up a possible strike by delivery drivers, to boost sales of fuel to boost the GDP and tax revenue?

But let me return to the islands problems - the plans of Leanne Wood, leader of Plaid Cymru for a clean energy revolution for Wales with Ynys Môn at it's heart; which was heavily criticised by the islands Tories, may now be worth looking at seriously?

After all with the prospect of a Wylfa B if not dead in the water, its delay will mean many years of waiting, in the meantime we need to find ways of stimulating growth on the island and hopefully some meaningful jobs.

6 comments:

The Red Flag said...

The irony is that after all the slagging the tories did of Plaid and the LibDems over nuclear, this has happened under a tory government.

Events dear boy. Events.

mairede thomas said...

Leanne's plans just do not add up.
She wanted to divert money from decommissioning into a new admin centre in Llangefni. Let's be honest every penny the Government does and does not have will now need to be spent securing a reliable source of baseload and backup power supply for the hundreds of intermittent wind turbines that don't deliver power on sunny windless days such as we have had this week.

kp said...

mairede thomas, educated in Wales?

If Germany, one of the largest manufacturing countries in the world, can plan for a future without nuclear what makes you think that we, Wales, cannot?

Or were you thinking more along UK lines?

The Red Flag said...

Leannes plans don't have to add up. Nuclearhas got nothing at all to do with the Assembly. She can value it in dried seahorse carcasses and dogshit if she wants.

Any money connected to nuclear belongs to the UK government and can be spent where it wants in the UK on whatever it feels like - got nothing to do with anyone lib=ving in Wales let alone Anglesey. Just accept your irrelvance and glory in it.

Anonymous said...

Wylfa B has been a great distraction as far as creating jobs/stimulating the local economy is concerned.

1. How many locals would have/ will have found work constructing Wylfa B?
Probably 2-3% of the total workforce. The figure for local workers employed in the London Olympics construction boom was 4%. Nuclear construction is a far more specialist field.

2. The decommissioning of Wylfa A will create far more jobs, and this will happen anyway.

3. I'm afraid that far too many local politicians have been distracted by this debate. They need to forget about Wylfa B and start thinking in other ways.

mairede thomas said...

kp - it certainly depends on population density, and the UK as a whole has more of a problem than Wales on its own.

However no-one has explained to me how Wales obtains an adequate baseload and backup electricity supply for intermittent wind turbines, (be they onshore or offshore), without coal or nuclear or expensive imported gas.

And the turbines are funded by UK taxpayers, without UK money/subsidy they would not be built.

Tidal power will do it eventually I'm sure, but its not there yet and needs a lot more time and money.

Coal can do it but we have these stupid CO2 targets.

We need to get our energy policy the right way round - develop the technology and build the power plants then set the CO2 targets. Simple.

If however you want to achieve the CO2 targets that have been set in law, even Wales will need to have nuclear power.