The National Infrastructure Commission just pointed out a while ago that with better use of our existing energy generation capacity we could avoid four Hinkleys, and save 8 billion pounds. McKinsey pointed out that if we just took forward the energy efficiency that we are already doing we could avoid six Hinkleys. So it’s a very good deal if you want to invest in the French nuclear industry but it’s not a very good deal for the British consumer, who is going to end up paying 37 billion pounds for this.
Remember Hinkley might be the first in this country, but it’s not the first of these reactors that is under construction. The previous three have all been over budget and late, sometimes three times over budget and 7 or 8 years late. So it’s a big gamble not just in terms of the money that we are going to spend, but also on whether it is actually going to deliver for us when we need it.
The track record of the nuclear industry in this country has been very good, so I don’t think that people need to worry very much about the safety of this reactor, what they really need to worry about is the value for money.
Storing the waste is something that nobody has yet figured out how to do or what it will cost. What the British government has done is basically capped the amount that EDF will have to spend on paying for its waste disposal, and that is going to take a long time, and as far as we can see everywhere else in the world, as time has gone on you would have expected the cost of waste disposal to come down, but actually what has happened is that they have gone up. So I think that it is a big economic problem, as well as a big environmental problem, because these wastes will last a very, very long time.