As many of you know, the UK has been indicating for many months that it is reconsidering its previous stance that held that nuclear power was not economic and not a good option for future plants. That position has been in place since Sizewell B came on line in the mid 1990s. However, times have changed, led particularly by the depletion of gas and oil in the North Sea and by a five fold rise in the price of oil since 2001. Though oil is not often used in power plants in the UK, the price of natural gas in the EU is generally indexed to the price of oil.
Yesterday, it became official. After months worth of public consultation, commentary and debates, John Hutton, the UK Business Secretary, made an official announcement to the House of Commons. You can find the complete text of the statement on the Guardian Unlimited web site under the title of Hutton’s nuclear statement.
There is quite a bit of commentary available on the web. I highly recommend an article titled Carving up the nuclear spoils. It makes for good reading, especially if you are interested in long term investments or employment. It will be interesting to see how the UK’s decision influences others in the EU, especially as they see the rush to invest and begin building again. The jobs and corporate profit implications are pretty significant.