Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Wylfa B - we been here before

So Hitachi have won the bidding to buy Horizon Nuclear and the rights to build two nuclear facilities...predictably politicians are jumping up and down with joy.

The Daily Post also today got a bit carried away....green light to build Wylfa B, up to 6000 jobs will be created during construction..a further 1000 permanent jobs....could be built by 2020...etc etc..

Of course had New Labour not delayed making a decision about nuclear power, then most probably construction work might have already started.

Now not wishing to piss on anybody's parade, there a lot hurdles to jump even before the first brick is laid. Hitachi will need approval of their reactor design, and prove that it meets new standards following the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, a process that Hitachi said could take three to four years. Then planning permission will be required, and that ain't going to be easy nor quick even with the Infrastructure Planning Commission.

And then there is what Hitachi have said themselves, as reported by  Reuters yesterday. Hitachi said it expected to have the first 1,300 megawatt (MW) nuclear power plant in the UK operational by the mid-2020s.

In other words by 2025 Hitachi hope to have one nuclear plant operational, and at the moment as far as we know that could be at Oldbury.

Or this from Dawn.com: Advanced boiling water reactors will be installed at the plants on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales and at Oldbury in Gloucestershire, Hitachi said, adding that about 1,000 workers are expected to be employed at each site. Hitachi’s nuclear power systems chief executive Masaharu Hanyu told Japanese media that his company may sell Horizon shares to investors in the future.

“As it is deemed difficult for Hitachi alone to prepare funds for constructing the power stations, we want to solicit investors,” he said, according to the online version of the Nikkei newspaper.

“It will depend on whether Hitachi can develop it into an attractive company,” he said, adding his company would not itself get involved in power generation.

I think there's also a growing realisation that nuclear power might not be the answer we need, especially if we want to cut cost of electricity to consumers. Yes on Anglesey it will bring some local jobs and make the GDP figures look good, but if as a result electricity prices continue to raise and make us uncompetitive is it really a price worth paying?

Not forgetting that on the top of the island we may have a nuclear plant built by the company whose name is for ever associated with Fukushima Daiichi, and whilst they have a track record of delivering safe projects on time and on budget....you wonder whether tourist will take the same view, especially with a long snake of pylons cutting and hissing through the countryside.

And we should remember with  RWE and E.ON, and the confidence expressed then....we have been here before.

1 comment:

The Red Flag said...

Is it not also the case that they (Hitachi) don't actually have the funding for this and that the wholesale price has yet to be negotiated but is believed they want £120-£130 - which is a significant increase tio the consumer?