Our favourite LibDem Chris 'Crapper' Huhne is being quoted widely as 'hoping' that the first new UK nuke 'should be' up and running in 8 years. He's fingering EDF as the likely developer, which is fair enough, given the extravagant claims they made when they bought BE, of planning to build 4.
It's not very likely though, is it Chris ? Talk is cheap, but nukes are not.
First, as the Inde sets out, there are truly formidable administrative hurdles, even with the Coalition's avowed willingness to streamline the planning process.
Secondly there is the entertaining theological debate over what constitutes a 'public subsidy'. The Telegraph (whose ear seems to be bent by the wind lobby increasingly these days) has noted - what C@W spotted from the outset - that the famous floor price for carbon is simply a windfall for anyone with existing non-coal / non-gas plants, notably EDF. Their co-conspirators in the RWE-E.ON combine even have the balls to demand more than just a high carbon price - they want mandatory buying of nuke output by the electricity suppliers. Somewhere along this line, the Treasury is surely going say, enough is enough.
Which brings us to just how ready EDF might be to press the start button. Answer: they ain't. Read this report** on their woes by Roussely, their Hon.President (in the original if you can, because the published translation is truly rubbish - Google can do as well as that). Key takeaways are that EDF is all at sea with its strategy; is lobbying to extend the lives of its French nukes to 60 years (sic); isn't sure what model of plant they should be promoting for export; and has no intention of starting on another of their new generation of big, expensive nukes (EPRs) until they have fully hoisted on board the lessons of the first two they are building right now in Finland and France (both fiascos on a very large scale, and neither likely to be finished any time soon).
And why would they ? Certainly not to gratify Crapper Huhne. But then, he doesn't care anyway - windfarms and muckheaps are what he's really interested in.
** hat-tip to our old comment-friend Mr RW