German Companies Dump UK Nuclear

RWE and EON have pulled out of building new nuclear plants in the UK. (See Telegraph Here)

It is perhaps unsurprising as both companies have been financially crippled by the German decision to shut down their nuclear plants. Both companies are faced with a massive drop in income as their German plants languish. This is the income they were relying on for the next 20+ years to pay for the investment in UK nuclear. Essentially RWE and EON say they now lack the cash for the up front investment in the UK nuclear facilities.

They will also have to pay out for early decommissioning of their German plant. So while the Horison consortium is obliged to keeping to its Finnish commitments for nuclear plant
they have found that legally they can pull out of the large up front commitment in the UK with virtual impunity.

While it is easy to see their financial reasoning, this clearly leaves a big hole in power supply for the UK. It also perhaps shows the stupidity of allowing strategic industries to fall into the clutches of foreign companies. Especially when their commitment to the UK is essentially controlled by a foreign government. (This incidentally applies to all generation technology not just nuclear)

So, we live in interesting times.

Maybe the Horison consortium will be picked up by EDF or others. Again foreign companies controlling our strategic industries.

Then maybe we could simply not build the nuclear plants.

We desperately need reliable, dependable and dispatchable power generation. We have already wasted far too much time and money on unviable an ineffective energy daydreams.

If we were to walk way from these two proposed nuclear sites the most likely outcome is that we would have to adopt the German post nuclear strategy and build more coal plant. Maybe with the potential of the Lancashire shale gas field we could build more gas instead.

Either way we slide backwards.

For the last 20 years we have been living in a dreamworld where strategic industrial investment has been dictated by the technically illiterate, ideological bigotry and wishful thinking.

Instead of relying of foreign companies, who are in turn controlled by foreign governments, maybe it is time we took responsibility and did it for ourselves.

You know - Just for a change - and before it is too late.


Anonymous said...

I just came across this delightful letter in the North Devon Gazette from 29th February:

SIR - I can’t let Giles Chichester and Ricky Knight get away with some of their comments on UK energy production, in recent letters to the Editor.

Giles criticised wind turbines. Most of us agree they are costly, inefficient and unwanted, which we are paying for with a stealth tax on our heating bills.

But as a Conservative MEP, Giles must know that they are EU policy, which the previous and current government are merely following. So what has he been doing about it? Has he been lobbying the EU, and his party Leader and Prime Minister, to stop the pointless desecration of our beautiful North Devon?

As wind turbines are Coalition policy, have our MPs, Geoffrey Cox and Nick Harvey been lobbying on our behalf to stop the Atlantic Array abomination? The voters will want to know.

Ricky entered the debate for the Green Party, saying that Germany and Italy have stopped their nuclear energy programmes, implying that we should do the same. But he did not complete the story.

Germany is, instead, embarking on the construction of four huge coal-fired power stations that will burn brown coal, one of the filthiest fuels known to man, because of the huge amounts of sulphur and carbon dioxide it produces! Germany already burns 169 million tons of this coal, and it will become the “dirty man of Europe”. The UK consumes 41 million tons of anthracite, which is relatively cleaner and much more efficient.

Our politicians’ policies on UK energy production have lost all sense and reason, leaving us in the ridiculous position of having to pay twice; once for the wind turbines we don’t want, and the second time for gas-powered stations for back-up when the wind is not blowing, or blowing at the wrong speed! You really could not make it up.

The French produce 80 per cent of their energy from nuclear power, with new technology and fuel available. This should be supplemented with more sensible renewables like tidal current turbines, and a serious programme to reduce consumption. How complicated is that?

Michael Pagram,


"A Serious Programme to Reduce Consumption". Actually this may soon be the only option we have left.

Indigent One

BilloTheWisp said...

Dear Indiginent One.

While I knew about the new German coal plants, I had forgotten that the Germans generally burn brown coal which is as you rightly say, about the dirtiest fuel available (relatively low thermal properties too if I remember rightly).

With regard to energy onservation, regrettibly our govt still struggles with the basics. Most of them have not got a clue.

For them, the highly effective and incredibly cheap contribution offered by simple and long term insulation is simply not fashionable enough.

They would much rather squander money on wind turbine operators and thier landed gentry friends.

Perhaps things will only get better after people start dying.