HINKLEY FOLLY


The misconception that nuclear power is necessary for the transition away from fossil fuels. Hinkley Folly takes its name from the proposed Hinkley Point C plant in the United Kingdom, recently given the go-ahead by Theresa May, in part due to a post Brexit political and economic commitments to France (a signal that the United Kingdom is still ‘open for business’). An act of sheer folly is one that lacks good sense, and Hinkley Folly stands in this tradition by ignoring the massive renewable wind potential available in the United Kingdom (and offshore). The Hinkley nuclear power plant would be constructed in the mould of the follies of 18th and 19th century British gardens - symbolic buildings with little practical purpose (often towers or mock-Gothic ruins). In the case of Hinkley, enormously costly also, with a long tail (many thousands of years of costs associated with toxic waste management. If it is ever built (the technology is still not proven to work in a similar projects in Finland) Hinkley Folly will not only lock the British taxpayer into a contract for expensive power for decades to come, but undermine the possibility for greater subsidies for renewable energy technology in the United Kingdom given that, as Peter Wynn Kirby has noted, Hinkley Point C “skews energy policy itself” by hiding investment - in part through merging the research and development and skills training of those in the military and civilian nuclear sectors. He writes, “If Britain’s energy policy were solely about energy, rather than also about defense, the nuclear sector would be forced to stand on its own two feet. And the government would have to acknowledge the growing benefits of renewable energy and make hardnosed comparisons about cost, implementation, environmental benefits and safety. Britain’s defense policy should not be allowed to undermine the country’s energy policy: That, too, is about national security.”1

1. Peter Wynn Kirby, ‘Britain’s Nuclear Cover-Up,’ The New York Times, 10 October 2016.
Mark