Nuclear power and Ireland’s energy needs

 

Sir, – Our organisation Friends of the Irish Environment made a site visit last week to Hinkley Point C, the new nuclear plant under construction on the Severn Estuary in England.

The visit was a follow-up to our successful complaint to the Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context which upheld the right to public consultation on the proposed plant being extended to Ireland.

Hinkley C is the largest construction project in Europe. There are currently 4,000 workers on site.

What is less known is that the project has, according to a recent announcement by the Chinese and French developers, been delayed by a further 15 months as the costs have escalated by a further £1.5 billion sterling since the previous estimate in 2017.

The result is that electricity produced from Hinkley Point C is expected to cost £92.50 per megawatt hour, while the current UK price for new wind power delivered by 2025 is set at £40 per megawatt hour.

If the money dedicated to the development of this single nuclear power plant – £22 billion and rising – had been used for renewable energy, how much further would that price have fallen?

Could we in fact have had that visionary future based on a secure balance of genuine renewable energy sources as we transitioned to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, one of Extinction Rebellion’s three demands?

Not only has Hinkley C delayed our sustainable future. It cannot help but add to the risks that more than 100 serious nuclear accidents, including Windscale (Sellafield), Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima have made all too evident. – Yours, etc,

TONY LOWES,

Friends of the

Irish Environment,

Eyeries,

Co Cork.

Sir, – Recent correspondents (Letters, October 5th) have raised the prospect of Ireland building its own nuclear power plant.

This may be a satisfactory resolution to our future energy needs and the imperative of reducing our carbon emissions, but given the history of recent capital projects in this country, we should expect the final cost of such an endeavour to be roughly three times the initial costing. – Yours, etc,

FRANK WALSH,

Coolballow,

Co Wexford.

Sir, – Paddy Hennessy (Letters, October 5th) asks where would we build the nuclear plant?

Might I suggest he invests in a “Nimby” detector. I await the results. – Yours, etc,

LIAM CLARKE,

Ballinteer,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – Paddy Hennessy asks where would we build the nuclear plant?

Speaking personally, I would be happy if it was constructed two or three miles upwind of my humble dwelling. – Yours, etc,

PJ MALONEY,

Cloneyheigue,

Co Westmeath.