LETTER TO EDITOR: Re Hinkley point nuclear power plant & security of supply


Regarding your article on the House of Lords inquiry into the economics of energy policy you may be interested in the security and national defence comparisons and steel demand comparisons of the planned UK nuclear-centric energy policy in comparison with a non-nuclear policy as set out in my evidence to the Inquiry.

A non-nuclear energy policy would be essentially renewables but possibly some CCS (preferably BECCS if necessary to meet emission and renewables targets).

One major point that has been almost, if not totally, missing from any energy policy debate is the huge Grid resilience value of the gas-fired back-up required for the intermittent renewables in a non-nuclear scenario.

The back-up would comprise hundreds of schemes of varying sizes distributed around cities. This infrastructure would be very difficult to significantly disrupt (either malicious or other adverse event eg severe weather, GPS meltdown). In comparison, six coastal nuclear power stations at the end of long transmission lines would be relatively very easy to disrupt or permanently disable.

In effect, a renewables scenario reduces the amount of UK critical infrastructure. The first duty of a Government, ministers say, is to provide protection to the public (ie energy security, national defence).

Steel demand for (mainly) offshore wind turbines generating the same annual electricity as a a nuclear power station require about three times the amount of steel for construction. This has been completely missed by the major parties and indeed the people of the ‘rust belt’ in Trump’s USA.

I have not been called as a witness to the inquiry, though I have given evidence to numerous inquiries in the past.

I put the ‘benefits of renewables back-up’ security point to Baroness Neville-Rolfe at the BEIS-NGO nuclear Forum last month. However she said that, although her background was in retail, she considered that ‘baseload’ was necessary (the Baroness was part of the Hinkley C review team).

The Baroness moved on the the Treasury three days after the Forum meeting and yet another inexperienced energy minister will pop up at the next Forum meeting in four months time (one of about five in as many years – most with little technological understanding let alone energy systems experience).

Yours sincerely,

Neil Crumpton, 

Representative for PAWB

(People Against Wylfa B) on the BEIS-NGO nuclear Forum

(Full postal address supplied)

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