New nuclear energy revealed as unviable

The spiralling costs of new nuclear energy have laid bare the financial risks that pursuing a new generation of nuclear power stations would entail. Reports in today’s Financial Times (Tuesday 24 July) make clear that to be viable new nuclear power stations would need to receive £100 for every megawatt hour produced, more than the current cost of producing onshore wind energy and more than double the current wholesale energy price.

Meanwhile lessons from other parts of Europe make clear just how rapidly the costs of nuclear power are rising. A new reactor under construction at Flamanville in France, one of the first in Europe to be built in decades, is four years behind schedule and has seen its £2.5 billion price-tag almost double and that is not counting the significant cost of cleaning up nuclear waste.

Reports in the Financial Times also estimate the price of a new nuclear reactor at £7.5 billion, around £3 billion more than it was just two years ago.

Commenting, SNP MSP John Wilson who is the deputy convener of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee said:

“The fact that new nuclear energy producers would demand a higher price than renewable energy currently costs shows just how ill-advised a new generation of nuclear power stations would be.

“While the costs of renewable energy are falling as the sector develops its capacity and expertise, the costs of nuclear are spiralling out of control.

“Nuclear energy is expensive, dangerous and impossible to deliver without massive public subsidy. Countries around the world are moving away from this technology and it is no solution for our future energy needs.

“The UK Government would be extremely ill-advised to tie itself to new nuclear power and put the public purse at risk as a result. The last thing we can afford is to be left picking up the pieces when the UK Government’s nuclear obsession unravels.

“The Scottish Government has set ambitious targets to generate the equivalent of 100% of our electricity needs from renewables by 2020. That is already delivering jobs and investment to communities across Scotland demonstrating the kind of leadership that the UK Government would do well to follow, rather than their determination to build nuclear white elephants.”