I’m not the kind of person who enjoys being the bearer of bad news. There are exceptions, however, and nuclear power is a big one. So I’m trying not to smile too widely at the latest horrendous news for the nuclear industry.
We’ve already had the astounding news that the new nuclear reactor being built by French utility EdF at Flamanville in France is going to cost at least as much as seven round trips to the moon.
Then Italy’s ENEL, EdF’s partner in the Flamanville disaster, pulled out of the project taking its 12.5% stake with it. ENEL cited “construction cost over-runs and delays”, “a significant drop in power demand” and an “uncertain timeframe for other nuclear investments in France” as its reasons for taking its money and running.
Over in Slovakia, ENEL has also seen a project seriously delayed. The company is trying to complete two new reactors at Mochovce, the construction of which began a jaw-dropping 28 years ago. ENEL has been forced to announce, however, that completion is going to be delayed again by at least another year and a half, but hey, what’s 18 months after 28 years?
The fun part came when a spokesperson for ENEL, discussing yet another delay, admitted one of the nuclear industry’s dirty little secrets: nuclear reactor construction projects all over the world have completion delays and cost overruns.
We’d like to thank ENEL for reinforcing the argument that we and other campaigners have been making for decades. ENEL, we salute you!
But that wasn’t the end of the nightmare for the nuke industry.
India – which wants to build six EPR reactors, the type being built at Flamanville – has found that the cost of that massive undertaking may well have just rocketed by a whopping 250% from around €20 billion to around €50 billion. For all you science fiction fans: that’s a staggering 42 return trips to the moon.
What's clear is that nuclear power is a sickness that has spread around the world in its 70-year lifetime. Thankfully, however, the industry itself appears to be the cure.
The industry's incompetence and wastefulness – in combination with the fact its spokespeople are willing to tell the ugly truth about the sector – is gradually undermining nuclear energy's future.
Greenpeace will only too gladly continue to assist in the industry's demise.