1. Exquisite Tweets from @Gilesyb, @MariosRichards, @ACJSissons

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    There is a lot of Stupid around on Twitter, but not much that beats the stupid view that the main reason Britain lacks sufficient nuclear energy is Nick Clegg. If there is a single politician to blame - your standard Stupid viewpoint - I think it really stopped under Thatcher

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    Gilesyb

    Giles Wilkes

    There was a fantastic blog a few years ago discussing nuclear build costs, which just never came down (similar to this one). By the mid 2000s, even pro nuclear people like me had to accept our ability to "rustle one up" had been massively depleted. Labour at least made a start

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    Gilesyb

    Giles Wilkes

    By 2017 when I was involved in the brief, there were around six projects in discussion, none unproblematic. Constant jeering at the cost of Hinkley, a constructor's bankruptcy, endless overruns in Finland and France, big financing challenges not an easy backdrop

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    Gilesyb

    Giles Wilkes

    Oh, and geopolitical risk, given who's good at building them! Iirc, even to prepare a bid means committing hundreds of millions to a process that might go nowhere. Govt in return having to commit to 'buy' something that may be far off market price when operational

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    Gilesyb

    Giles Wilkes

    (sorry, failed to post link. This blog post is great on nuclear build costs rootsofprogress.org/devanney-on-th…)

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    Gilesyb

    Giles Wilkes

    I'm not qualified to judge, but even advocates admit you need a pipeline of over 10 before learning curves have pushed the price to reasonable

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    Gilesyb

    Giles Wilkes

    Anyway, like everything, it's more complicated than a simple politico would like it to be. People who want this to be a simple matter of political will keep getting this wrong. I hope we see more, but a grown up appreciation for why nuclear is difficult would help

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    Gilesyb

    Giles Wilkes

  2. To a first order approximation I think you can ignore every detail about nuclear plants *except the capital cost profile*.

    Asking whether nuclear power is expensive is like asking whether pensions are expensive - not if you plan for it and the govt helps out, but othw yes!

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    MariosRichards

    Marios Richards

    That's why the cost of nuclear differs dramatically from one state to the next - it's incredibly reliant on political choices/culture.

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    MariosRichards

    Marios Richards

    I'm dubious about the term "neoliberal" but I think nuclear plant construction is actually a surprisingly good concrete (aha) measure.

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    MariosRichards

    Marios Richards

    The UK in particular you can just watch transition from one plant every 1-2 years, to a collapse in confidence in the 70s, to a new post-70s norm of "We can't do this, no one can, those huge concrete things that make energy in the forum were built by giants".

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    MariosRichards

    Marios Richards

  3. Great thread. I feel like “nuclear is the answer to everything” has a very similar character to the Musk “build tunnels” thing.

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    ACJSissons

    Andrew Sissons

    100% this.
    I’d love to read just one explanation of how a bit more nuclear would help in a market where gas sets the price of electricity…

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    ACJSissons

    Andrew Sissons

  4. Conclusion - nuclear power issues aren't really about nuclear, they're about fundamental issues of the timescale of state infrastructure not lining up with democratic politics.

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    MariosRichards

    Marios Richards

    Even the initial 20 years of enthusiasm in the UK wasn't about future needs but the experience of WWII/post-war blackouts and people dying from the cold.

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    MariosRichards

    Marios Richards