Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant
Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant

Proponents of an Australian nuclear power industry -- of which there are quite a number in the federal Liberal Party -- might read up on what's been happening in the UK around the planned Hinkley Point nuclear power station, which yet again demonstrates how the maths of nuclear power rarely add up -- even in countries with established nuclear power industries, let alone a country like Australia that would have to build one from the ground up.

The Hinkley Point project, which will contain two "European pressurised reactor" (EPR) units, was originally planned to come online from 2025 and provide 7% of the UK's power needs. It was to be built by French nuclear giant EDF (85% government owned), backed by Chinese investment. But that was until the hideous maths of nuclear power construction reared their ugly head. Despite new UK chancellor Philip Hammond yesterday confirming his commitment to Hinkley Point, there are now real doubts the project will go ahead.