New Year Resolutions

The year 2017 has seen some real progress in plans to build new nuclear power stations in the UK. That this progress has been slow is the fault of finance, regulation and public opinion. Each of these has been weighed down by a lack of understanding and confidence. For 2018 these letters promise to disseminate and expand on news of prospects for nuclear power in the UK.

Financial markets seem unwilling to support investments with long pay-back times, generally. This is not peculiar to the UK or nuclear, although the lifetime of a nuclear power station at 60-80 years is at the longer end of a spectrum that includes student education, railways, hospitals and other infrastructure projects. It is no surprise that, by mistakenly focusing on short-term interest (like 6% on student education), any investment for the public good can be made to seem unaffordable. Devious accounting devices like the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) that hide public debt, while charging current outgoings, contribute to inequity.

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