It estimates that the facility will produce about 7 percent of the nation’s total electricity from 2025, the year it is expected to be completed. The EPR’s designer, Areva, claims that the reactor is reliable, efficient and so safe that it could withstand a collision with an airliner.
But the project is staggeringly expensive: It will cost more than $22 billion to build and bring online. And it isn’t clear that the EPR technology is viable.
No working version of the reactor exists. The two EPR projects that are furthest along — one in Finland, the other in France — are many years behind schedule, have hemorrhaged billions of dollars and are beset by major safety issues.
The first casting of certain components for the Hinkley Point C reactors left serious metallurgical flaws in the pressure vessel that holds the reactor core. In 2014, the Cambridge University nuclear engineer Tony Roulstone declared the EPR design “unconstructable.”
The British government must be more transparent about its military spending, if only so that those expenditures can be measured against the needs of other public programs. According to the Science Policy Research Unit study, the government itself estimated in 2015 that renewing the Trident deterrent force will cost nearly $38.5 billion. In comparison, the deficit of the National Health Services for the fiscal year 2015-6, a record, was about $3 billion.
Hiding the true costs of a project like Trident by promoting a questionable and ruinous project like Hinkley Point C distorts the economics of both the defense and the civilian energy sectors. It also skews energy policy itself.
If Britain’s energy policy were solely about energy, rather than also about defense, the nuclear sector would be forced to stand on its own two feet. And the government would have to acknowledge the growing benefits of renewable energy and make hard-nosed comparisons about cost, implementation, environmental benefits and safety.
Britain’s defense policy should not be allowed to undermine the country’s energy policy: That, too, is about national security.
Read more at Britain’s Nuclear Cover-Up