Let’s go for an expansive renewable energy system, backed up with energy efficiency and energy storage, says David Blackburn. Plus Mike Ellwood on the integral fast reactor, and John Barstow on the case for keeping coal as a backup
Your article on Hinkley Point C outlines the rising costs, long delays and the mental health crisis among the employees building this new nuclear power station (Report, 14 August). The article suggests the much-delayed project may be delivered around 2025-6. But even this assessment should be treated with real caution. An identical reactor being built at Flamanville in France, which was started in 2007, was supposed to open in 2012. The French nuclear regulator has now sought more work on faulty welds across the reactor, meaning another three-year delay until 2022, ie 15 years after construction began. The additional costs of building this reactor will burden EDF further and inevitably impact on Hinkley Point C. I agree with the National Infrastructure Commission that the costs and delays to new nuclear are such that the UK has to refocus on more deliverable and cheaper renewable energies. Across the board these are being delivered now and we simply do not have the time to wait for new nuclear to come forward. Let’s go for an expansive renewable energy system, backed up with energy efficiency and energy storage. The climate emergency is too pressing to take our time with such endeavours.
Councillor David Blackburn
Chair of UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities Steering Committee
• Professor Neil Hyatt (Letters, 8 August) suggests that we should be actively considering doing something with our existing nuclear waste. There is something that could be done to make the problem much easier to solve, and also provide a way of generating power that is free of CO2 emissions.