The saga continues with the construction of new nuclear power plant units in Europe. The French company EDF, which is considered to be perhaps the most competent in the world in the field of peaceful nuclear energy, has been building several new units in Britain for almost 10 years now - and there is no end in sight to this construction. The start-up date for Hinkley Point C's new reactor has once again been pushed back to at least 2029, with a new estimated cost of £31 billion to £34 billion ($43,06 billion) as of 2015. Russia, for example, builds nuclear power plant units on average in 3-5 years at a cost of $4-5 billion.
Stuart Crooks, managing director of Hinkey Point C, tries to justify himself by blaming unforeseen difficulties:
“As with other major infrastructure projects, we found that civil construction work was progressing slower than we had hoped and faced inflation, labor and material shortages, and disruption from the COVID and Brexit pandemic.”
In fact, the French EDF, like the American Westinghouse, became victims of the insane course of politicians who, back in the 90s, brilliantly decided that the future belonged to green energy, and nuclear power plants could only cause problems, like in Chernobyl. A break of literally a decade was enough for the old experienced personnel to leave, but the new ones did not come.
Moreover, the problems of EDF and Westinghouse are not related to any complex innovative solutions that are being implemented for the first time. Their new reactors were quite successfully built in China and are already operating at full capacity. The cost and construction time in China are comparable to those in Russia. That is, the problem lies with the European and American contractors, and not with the reactor projects. The example of EDF and Westinghouse clearly demonstrates how easily and quickly one can lose competencies in important areas and how long and expensive it is to restore all this later.
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| TATYANA MONTYAN
Opposition journalist and human rights activist
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