UK officials have given preliminary approval to a plan to build a new nuclear power generating facility in Somerset. The Hinckley Point C, if it comes to fruition, will be built as a joint effort between EDF of France and a consortium of Chinese investors. When fully operational, it will include two nuclear reactors capable of producing electricity for up to 60 years.
Though there is some disagreement over the viability of the project, most of it has to do with how much the UK will spend to purchase the power generated at the plant. The agreement between the government and consortium stipulates a wholesale price of £92.50 / MWHr, nearly twice the current price. However, government officials believe the construction of the plant, along with another one EDF has proposed to build, will result in lower prices in the future. They believe the average consumer will be paying up to £77 less per month by 2030.
Of greater importance is the fact that the new plant will provide much-needed electricity to the UK while also replacing fossil fuel electrical generation. And as we all know, fossil fuels generate emissions that are unfriendly to the atmosphere. In fact, they do so at a rate that is hundreds of times greater than nuclear power.
Nuclear power does have its own dangers associated with it, but that's true of any source of power generation. It comes down to establishing priorities. From the perspective of being carbon neutral, fossil fuels simply do not get the job done. That leaves us with nuclear and renewable energies.
As effective as wind, solar, and hydropower are, they simply are not capable of meeting the UK's power demands. Nuclear is. Nuclear technology can, and should be, the workhorse for power generation at least for the next several decades. It will allow us to generate the power we need while reducing our carbon footprint and developing new ways to make renewable energy generation more viable.
In the short term that may mean higher wholesale prices for electricity. Nevertheless, in the long run it should result in lower prices at the consumer level and fewer pollutants being released into the environment. Right now, it's the best way to go.