Lovers of mutant vegetables, cheap electricity and government overspending rejoice: the UK government has green-lit the first new nuclear power plant to be built on British soil in a generation, but it ain't exactly cheap.
Called Hinkley Point C, the Somerset-based two-reactor plant is being built by a consortium led by French energy giant EDF, with additional investment help from Chinese investors and EU development funds. It's a good thing that the initial build cost isn't being covered by our already-broke government -- construction costs are estimated at a whopping £14bn. Although the taxpayer isn't paying any of that upfront, the trade-off is a woefully high cost for the electricity once the plant is online in 2023, which is likely to hit energy bills down the line.
Worse, the timing of the launch is perhaps not the best. Although Britain is clamouring for energy investment -- the energy regulator has said that the danger of 'brownouts' in the future has "tripled" in the last year -- post-Fukushima possible isn't the greatest time to be advocating nuclear, especially since Hinkley Point C is just the first in a planned string of new nuclear sites, something already being heralded as the beginning of Britain's "second nuclear age". Let's hope that it's as uneventful as the first. [BBC]