Friday, 17 July 2015

Even The Treasury is Fallible

So there we are, diligently reading the Boy Genius' George's latest masterwork Fixing The Foundations, a.k.a. the Treasury's "Productivity Plan".   Turning to the energy section - "The government aims to improve productivity in energy generation, production, supply and usage.  This will be achieved through ..."  -  we find the inevitable nuclear daydream, as follows:
... delivering a significant expansion in new nuclear power in the UK. The Hinkley Point C power station alone could generate 7% of the UK’s electricity needs 1
Well it could, but that's a rather pointed conditional.  And what's that little '1', the footnote at the end?  The eye falls to the bottom of the page where we read, in 6-point: 
1 Job stats from EDF
But job stats are there none!  Now we know the government and EDF are bosom buddies - how else to explain, well, anything UK-nuclear really - but what happened when someone at the Treasury was set on to ring up the froggies and ask them how many jobs Hinkley Point will create?  Did they just forget?  Surely not, at the Treasury!

Or did EDF say: not a single bloody job until you roll over on all our remaining demands and sign the bloody contract !  (Oh, and even then, the lion's share will be going to French firms.)

All entirely academic, 'cos it ain't gonna happen.



Budgie said...

The response of government to a bad situation is to chuck more management at it.

The Treasury gets rolled over? Hole digging must continue, but more managers needed.

dearieme said...

I'd have thought our needs far to urgent for nuclear to answer. We''l just need to burn Greens.

john cheshire said...

There was a time, not too long ago when we had our own nuclear industry; design, construct and operate. I may be wrong but I think the Labour government dismantled it and sold it to foreigners.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Greens should be forced to use only renewables and denied coal/gas/nuclear generated lecky. Once they're cut off for a bit they might begin to appreciate the virtues of modern civilisation.

Blue Eyes said...

There was a time, not too long ago when we had our own investment banks, state-owned coal mines, car manufacturers, and milk arrived in cute glass bottles on our doorsteps by magic. So f^¢king what?

Anonymous said...

I think the point he may have been trying to make is that you are able to express your comments by virtue of the power generated by these Magnox reactors which are well past their design dates.

It is a tribute to the engineers that you are able to vent courtesy of their skills.

Blue Eyes said...

My point is that nuclear is an incredibly expensive way to generate electricity. The UK state-led industry was based on lies about costs. The supposed new generation of PWR reactors was supposed to lead us to electrical nirvana, and was stopped dead in its tracks when the true cost became apparent.

I think that Nick's thread in his many posts on this topic is that paying the French to build us absurdly expensive capacity which will almost certainly be too late to solve the current capacity crunch is beyond stupid.

We wouldn't buy French cars if they weren't competitive with cars from other nations or domestically-produced ones. Why would we tie the EDF millstone around our necks for fifty years?

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you and having been on the supply side to the nuclear industry, part of the reason for the high cost was HMG's insistent on dual supply. Our French competition (state owned/inefficient/expensive) allowed us to price at 5% below. Being far more efficient, the profit we made was embarrassing. But given HMG's diktat on security of supply, we could only oblige.

So I think the issue is not with EDF - nice guys, great lunches - but with the policy setters / interferers.

Anonymous said...

"So fucking what"

Perhaps we shall make a living selling each other cappucino over the internet. Personally I'd sooner we could build things using our own wits. If you believe this global warming claptrap then nuclear power is the only thing we can do to avoid the collapse of civilisation. As successive politicians have destroyed our capacity to do so we are in the hands of foreigners with no love for us.

Budgie said...

BE said: "Why would we tie the EDF millstone around our necks for fifty years?"

Because we can no longer do it ourselves?

Be careful BE, your nationalism is showing, and your desire for security of supply.

rwendland said...

john cheshire, on a historical note, it was the privatisation of the CEGB (by a certain M.Thatcher) that put paid to "our own nuclear industry; design, construct" industry.

Sizewell B was intended by the CEGB to be the first of several sister PWR stations. The first sister, the 1990 version of Hinkley Point C, had even passed public enquiry and had planning permission given in 1990. But with the CEGB going no-one in the just privatising industry (sensibly) was willing to fund its build.

Sizewell B had been planned to be economically viable at a 5% government finance rate, but in the event produced power at £80/MWh, over twice the going rate, even with that cheap 5% finance. Private financiers would have wanted around 10% planned ROI, so any sister stations were a totally lost cause.