Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Dungeness B: a lost opportunity to invest in renewable energy

News broke yesterday that Dungeness B nuclear power station has been given a 10 year extension following a £150m investment. While some local people employed there were pleased to keep their jobs, the real cost of keeping it running is ignored.

Dungeness B is rated at 1GW, providing 10% of nuclear power for the UK.

The government spends £2.5bn each year on dealing with nuclear waste, i.e. £250m dealing with waste from Dungeness B or £2.5bn over the additional 10 years.

Then there are staff costs which I estimate to be £200m over 10 years when added to the £150m being spent to make it safe and probably a further £150m on other running costs, the likely cost of running it will be over £3bn.

£3bn would fund a huge amount of renewable energy or energy efficiency schemes. The London Array provides about 0.3GW providing electricity to 500,000 homes and cost £1.8bn to install but has low running costs over its 25 year life, bringing the cost per year in around £100m.

To me this suggest that the decision to keen the plant open is purely political and has nothing to do with cost. Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey has once again shown his anti-environment colours and has ensured that there are 10 more years of nuke waste to deal with and less investment in renewables.

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