Later this week, we're told, the long-trailed announcement will be made of a new approach to financing nuclear power plants in the UK.
As we've long been warmed up to accept, no company is willing to take upon itself nuclear construction risk. That was just about all that remained in the lap of developers, after EDF had blazed the trail with the outrageous Hinkley Point C contract that May so cravenly signed back in 2016 under stern instruction of the miserable tadpole Hollande (thereby proving to the entire watching world she was unfit to conduct the Brexit process). But EDF itself quickly signalled that if we wanted any more nukes the next deal would need to be even better.
(Note always that HPC is a not-quite-free option for EDF - they still have no obligation to complete construction of the plant. It can be argued they have no idea how to do it anyway, seeing that Flammanville has been put back yet another few years ...)
Still, the frogs are dangling the next one, Sizewell C, before the desperate eyes of HMG - and of course the Chinese and Japs and Koreans can all make their own offerings - if the contract is rich enough, and free of risk for themselves.
The chosen financing model to gratify their rapacity is the Regulated Asset Base model. Details are awaited; but it's a familar enough tool, used across the USA in various forms for decades, and latterly for that grotesque and unnecessary project, the Thames Tideway. But familarity alone is no recommendation.
The lazy headlines are that the 'taxpayer' stands to pick up the tab for the inevitable monstrous cost overruns. Maybe; but it's even more likely it will be the poor old electricity bill-payer, which may seem a fine distinction but it highlights an important point. Everyone needs electricity (and water) and their utility value to all of us is so great, we can be made to pay almost anything for them. No new taxes required. By these means we can be, have been, and will again be screwed into the ground, giving foreign firms the right to enjoy themselves on a grand scale at our expense for many decades to come.
The only possible argument in favour is that nukes have only ever been built by public finance, so we may as well don the nose-pegs and get on with it. That assumes we need them at all - and I say we don't. Or, if we do, we're f****d, because manifestly the French don't know how to build them within, say, 10 years of their airy estimates - so we'll always need large-scale Plans B, C and D. Why not just settle for a good, cost-effective Plan B and have done?
Anyhow, knowing that several of our BTL regulars actually favour new nukes - have at it in the comments!