Breakingviews

Cheap wind energy can deal final blow to Hinkley

August 8, 2016

Electricity from offshore wind farms costs a third less than in 2013. It now undercuts power costs at the two new nuclear reactors planned in the UK. With prices falling further and low project risk, the case for pulling the plug on the Hinkley Point plant is building.

Theresa May may have saved EDF from itself

July 29, 2016

The state-owned French utility’s 12 bln pound investment in nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point could unravel after the UK’s new prime minister initiated a surprise review of the high-risk, high-cost project. Pulling the plug would do UK taxpayers and EDF shareholders a big favour.

Chernobyl is symbol of shaky EU-Ukraine ties

April 26, 2016

Thirty years after the disaster at the nuclear power station, EU money has helped build a structure to contain further reactor fallout. But Ukraine will have to sort any future issues by itself. Efforts to bring Kiev and Brussels closer suffer from a similar risky dynamic.

Beijing backing for UK nuclear comes at high price

October 22, 2015

China and France’s EDF are nearing an 18 billion pound N-plant deal at Hinkley. Long horizons make the economics hard to judge, but at current prices Britain is on the hook for 1 billion pounds a year in implied subsidies. The price of Chinese support is fiendish complexity.

Iran nuclear deal is huge potential step forward

July 14, 2015

The hope is that the 100-page agreement will help keep oil cheap, spur rapid growth in the Iranian economy and lead to less fighting in the Middle East. But sanctions can be revived quickly if things don’t go to plan. Mistrust remains endemic. Optimists will have to be patient.

Iran deal moves oil closer to long bear market

April 7, 2015

A framework deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program is likely to bring the country’s oil exports way up. Like Saudi Arabia, Iran gains more from market share than it loses from low prices. Higher-cost producers will take time to adjust.

Kim Jong-un could thaw dictatorship into growth

March 1, 2012

If North Korea’s basketball-loving young master really wants to build on his limited nuclear deal with the U.S., land reform would be a good place to start. That should boost food supplies and stimulate small business. Privatizations, big finance and crony capitalism can wait.

Japanese economy needs nuclear second chance

April 5, 2013

Shinzo Abe's goal of weakening the yen will make electricity even pricier in a country that imported over 80 pct of its energy even before the Fukushima disaster in 2011. The accident damaged confidence, but Japan's revival could falter without a hefty nuclear energy program.

U.S. nuclear hopes choked by low emission costs

May 20, 2010

Nuclear power advocates in the United States may see their hopes choked by low emissions costs.

UK’s nuclear rebirth comes at a fair price

October 21, 2013

An EDF-led consortium will invest 16 billion pounds to build the first plant of the UK’s nuclear reset. The government will pay a fixed price for the energy produced from 2023. Investors will take on any extra cost. The deal looks balanced – barring major energy market turmoil.