Category Archives: Energy

Why nuclear?

Nuclear energy brings a lot of problems but it is a necessary part of the fight against climate change * I recently did a webinar about the planned new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, based on part of my forthcoming book The Fall and Rise of Nuclear Power in Britain – A… Continue Reading

Interview in China Daily on the possible Chinese investment in new British nuclear plant

UK nuclear plant may be a game changer  China Daily is an English language newspaper, available in many hotels in China and published abroad. It’s often seen as a window (sometimes a rather opaque one) into Chinese government thinking, as it comments on policy, often in a fairly critical way. I was interviewed in Beijing… Continue Reading

Natural gas is not (yet) a global commodity

A global commodity, in economic or investment terms, is a standardised, homogeneous good that sells for the same price everywhere, subject to transport costs and tax. Oil is the classic global commodity. A chart from the IMF World Economic Outlook, just published in October 2014, shows that natural gas isn’t. But it probably will become more… Continue Reading

What makes nuclear power different?

I recently took part in an interesting one day workshop at Churchill College on the future of nuclear power. My small contribution was a short presentation that tries to identify what it is that makes nuclear power currently all but impossible to finance through conventional private finance. I argue that it’s not the scale, capital… Continue Reading

A new pamphlet on nuclear power policy in the UK

I recently contributed to a pamphlet on nuclear power, published by the think tank Politeia and launched at the House of Commons last week. The other two authors are Professor Roger Cashmore, Chairman of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and David Mowat, MP for Warrington South and Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Cabinet Office. The… Continue Reading

How economists think about environmental problems

Externalities and missing markets Microeconomics, which is the economics of individual agents, companies and markets, argues that if certain conditions for well functioning markets are in place then there is little need or justification for government intervention. These conditions sometimes apply – reasonably well informed consumers and a competitive industry (meaning little or no monopoly… Continue Reading

Escaping technological lock-in by swallowing your pride: French versus British nuclear policy

On 21 October 2013 the British government confirmed at last that it had agreed with the French power company EDF (Electricité de France) the building of two European Pressurised Water (EPR) nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point, near Bristol. The 3,200MW reactors will contribute around 7% of the UK’s power needs by 2023. The deal is… Continue Reading

The future of nuclear power in the UK

This is the text of a talk I gave on 24 June 2013 to a group of nuclear experts, politicians and civil servants at the think tank Politeia in London. Nuclear power in the UK is at the sharp end of a major change, not just in policy but in the whole philosophy of government,… Continue Reading