Monday, January 22, 2007

Nuclear power to be done under PFI?

The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has just announced the appointment of Dr Tim Stone as senior advisor on the "arrangements for the costs associated with potential nuclear new build decommissioning and waste management".

Now, bedsides me personally having problem getting my head around the paradoxical concept of "nuclear new build decommissioning", if you're wondering what the "costs associated" with his remit will end up being it should be noted that he is basically the Government's PFI man.

You can bet you're bottom dollar those new nuclear power stations that we've not yet decided to get will be paid for on the never never through PFI. Dr Stone's seems to get about quite a bit and has his fingers in a lot of Government pies on that matter. According to a biography, amongst other things he's,
led the advisory team for the Department for Transport and H.M. Treasury on the government's review of the rail industry. He is leading KPMG's financial advisory team on the MoD's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft deal, which is estimated to have a value in excess of £13billion and is also a lead advisor on the £20billion Military Flying Training Services deal. He has been heavily involved in many major acute hospital transactions, road and IT PFI deals, including the NHS' £3.2bn national IT program and the Department for Work & Pensions Accord deal which is the largest non-military IT procurement in Western Europe.
They'll probably make Trident a PFI project next!


Gerry Wolff said...

Regarding "Nuclear power to be done under PFI?" (2007-01-22), there really is no need for nuclear power in the UK or the rest of Europe because there is a simple mature technology available that can deliver huge amounts of clean energy without any of the headaches of nuclear power.

I refer to 'concentrating solar power' (CSP), the technique of concentrating sunlight using mirrors to create heat, and then using the heat to raise steam and drive turbines and generators, just like a conventional power station. It is possible to store solar heat in melted salts so that electricity generation may continue through the night or on cloudy days. This technology has been generating electricity successfully in California since 1985 and half a million Californians currently get their electricity from this source. CSP plants are now being planned or built in many parts of the world.

CSP works best in hot deserts and, of course, there are not many of these in Europe! But it is feasible and economic to transmit solar electricity over very long distances using highly-efficient 'HVDC' transmission lines. With transmission losses at about 3% per 1000 km, solar electricity may, for example, be transmitted from North Africa to London with only about 10% loss of power. A large-scale HVDC transmission grid has also been proposed by the wind energy company Airtricity as a means of optimising the use of wind power throughout Europe.

In the recent 'TRANS-CSP' report commissioned by the German government, it is estimated that CSP electricity, imported from North Africa and the Middle East, could become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, including the cost of transmission. That report shows in great detail how Europe can meet all its needs for electricity, make deep cuts in CO2 emissions, and phase out nuclear power at the same time.

Further information about CSP may be found at and . Copies of the TRANS-CSP report may be downloaded from . The many problems associated with nuclear power are summarised at .

Anonymous said...

At this rate, we will end up with the worst post Labour financial hangover in political history.