Ingham’s blind eye: financial crisis looms for French nuclear industry

THE nuclear power Sir Bernard advocates (Ingham’s Eye View, September 1) is equally “cripplingly expensive”, so that the French nuclear industry is suffering financial meltdown.

EdF’s revenue in France is unable to cover its operating costs, let alone fund its needed reactor replacement or upgrading of its ageing fleet (or its decommissioning and waste management costs). Last year it was forced to sell prime assets to reduce its mounting net indebtedness, while reducing its needed annual revenue by around Eur 5 billion.

Meanwhile Areva’s EPR - Evolutionary Pressure-Water Reactor - has evolved into a delayed and overspent embarrassment in Finland and in France, so embarrassing that further French new build is likely to be the smaller ATMEA-1, a joint venture of Areva and MHI., so that these and the two under construction in China are probably the last ever to be built.

The Coalition government has introduced four “incentives” to stimulate investment in the UJK’ nuclear new build, a topped up by tax carbon auction “floor” price, capacity grants for low-carbon peak shaving, contracts-for-difference feed-in-tariffs paid by its competitors and imposed swingeing emission performance standards on the same. These will not avail as the investment banks have already dismissed these subsidies as inadequate.

Meanwhile in Japan 100,000 inhabitants of the Fukushima exclusion zone are unable to return to their homes, most likely never. As the apostle of a nuclear “renaissance”, Sir Bernard has turned a blind eye to the mounting problems of his baby, which will be aborted before leaving its birth passage.

Hebden Bridge’s inaugurated Transition Town membership is to be welcomed as the antidote for centralised generation and national grid extensions.

Sir Bernard is obviously alarmed by the spread of the localisation aimed Transition Town Network to his locality, which he should support for the future of his community rather than challenge.

John Busby,

Bury St Edmunds.