A Scan of Critical World Developments
The Dimming Prospects of Nuclear Power
Nuclear power may have its ardent boosters, including some environmentalists, but its future is dimming. A case in point is Hinkley Point C, whose construction the UK government agreed to license—and subsidize—in 2012. At that time, cost projections for 2025, the project’s estimated completion date, showed that nuclear would be the cheapest source of electricity generation. What a difference four years can make: the maturation of the renewable sector and the struggles of nuclear have led to a very different picture. Large solar and onshore wind are now projected to be significantly more cost-effective than nuclear in 2025, with offshore wind competitive as well—vaporizing the original economic rationale for the deal. This, along with other long-standing problems, such as the risk of accidents, link to weapons proliferation, and storage of radioactive waste, render the nuclear power option a costly distraction on the road to clean energy. The UK government recently delayed the final approval of the construction of Hinkley Point C, pending a review. They would be wise to heed the market and nix the project, a step toward sunsetting the misguided sixty-year experiment with nuclear for good.