Category Archives: Energy

Ten years after Fukushima

What happened? At 14.46 on 11 March 2011, the largest earthquake ever to hit Japan started in the Pacific Ocean about 72km (45 miles) from the Japanese coast. Occurring in fairly shallow waters, the earthquake caused a tsunami with a maximum height of 15m (49 ft.), which struck the coast about 50 minutes later with… Continue Reading

The importance of infrastructure

People paid to worry about bad stuff happening concluded long ago that one way to destroy the USA as a functioning state would be to explode a high altitude nuclear weapon above the country; the resulting electromagnetic pulse (EMP) would destroy practically all electrical equipment, including the large transformers that make the electrical grid work.… Continue Reading

Why an abrupt tightening of climate change policy may be our only hope

To spend time with climate scientists and energy economists these days is to take part in an increasingly tortuous mental conflict. Outwardly, scientists, policy analysts and academics hoping to influence policy must remain positive and optimistic, while keeping a strong sense of urgency. Privately, many are in despair at the lack of progress on cutting… Continue Reading

New article in the Chatham House journal “The World Today”

https://www.chathamhouse.org/publications/twt/august-27-1956-all-systems-glow August 27, 1956: All systems glow –  Simon Taylor on the opening of Britain’s Calder Hall nuclear power station It’s nearly 60 years since the UK switched on the first full scale nuclear power station in the world, Calder Hall, in the north west of England. My article explains how it came about. Continue Reading

Letter from Guangxi

The second week of my recent China trip was spent in the hot, green and rapidly developing southern province of Guangxi. * My trips to China are usually to the Tier 1 cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and more rarely to Guangzhou. In these places you see the full achievement of the country’s remarkable economic development.… Continue Reading

Some modestly good news in the energy world

The BP Statistical Review of World Energy was published last week. It contains two pieces of particularly encouraging information. First. in 2015 coal demand fell sharply. Second, carbon emissions from energy rose at the slowest rate for 25 years (other than the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis). The report is summarised by BP’s group chief… Continue Reading

Tragedy or comedy? The story of nuclear power in the UK

Here is the main version of the talk I’ve given about my book on the history of nuclear power in Britain. I’ve given (or will give) versions at:  China Center for Energy Economics, Xiamen University; Pangoal think tank, Beijing; Cambridge University Energy Network; Cambridge Energy Policy Research Group; Cambridge Judge Business School; the British Academy,… Continue Reading

Further thoughts on the Hinkley Point C nuclear project

In recent weeks I’ve written two articles explaining why I believe that the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power project should be abandoned (though it still seems at present reasonably likely that the French government will proceed). The Guardian: Hinkley Point is a costly mistake, but only France can pull the plug Prospect Magazine: The folly of… Continue Reading

Why Hinkley Point C is in trouble

The world’s most expensive power station project, a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C in the UK, still hasn’t reached financial close, despite backing from the UK, French and Chinese governments. It might be best for the UK if it never does. The full story is told in my new book The Fall and… Continue Reading