The proposed Hinkley C power plant has always been the subject of controversy, but further questions are now being raised over its costs and who will foot the bill for the radioactive waste that will be produced.
As detailed in the Guardian, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has declined a Freedom of Information request, which would have disclosed its state aid arrangements with the French energy firm EDF.
The government has previously stated that when a company builds a nuclear plant in the United Kingdom, it would be responsible for the management and cost of the waste disposal, but there are worries that these expenses could be passed on to the bill payer. In addition, environmental group Greenpeace has expressed concerns over the possible bad value that the proposed plant might offer to the tax payer.
David Lowry, who filed the Freedom of Information request, is to appeal the decision and he argues that British citizens are entitled to make up their own minds on whether the government has made the right decision over the plant.
Hinkley C - the costs
In an article on its website, Greenpeace has raised concerns over the potential costs of Hinkley C. A recent spreadsheet issued by the Treasury seemed to suggest that the new power plant could end up costing £26 billion, but the government has since issued a statement saying this was a mistake and the final cost will be £16 billion.
However, Greenpeace says this isn’t consistent with the costs announced by EDF, who say that the development will cost £18 billion, however, this price could still rise should be development be subject to delays.
A new nuclear generation
A move toward nuclear energy is considered necessary due to the closure of the majority of the United Kingdom’s older generation power stations and the need for cleaner fuels.
The Hinkley Point C power plant is being hailed as the first step towards a new revolution for the nuclear power industry, and it will be the first nuclear plant in the UK for a quarter of a century.
Licensing for the station was confirmed in 2012, and Hinkley C will be the first nuclear power plant to be backed by a Funding Decommissioning Programme. Under this arrangement, the company responsible for building the plant must cover all of the costs of decommissioning, and their share of the total cost for waste disposal.