A new UK nuclear power station, Hinkley Point C, comes with such an astronomical price tag that many question whether it’s worth it. The company building the station, EDF Energy, estimates the cost at around $26 billion, but that number could creep up to closer to $35 billion once interest is taken into account – that’s enough to fund “a small forest of Burj Khalifas.” Some worry that, in addition to the ludicrous cost, it could also reduce the impetus for greener, cleaner energy in the UK.
The BBC decided to put that price tag in perspective, and compared the dollar figure to what famous marvels like the Great Pyramid of Gaza would have cost. According to their estimates, the pyramid could have been built for just around $1 billion, and possibly even less.
So what’s up with Hinkley Point C? Greenwich University energy policy professor Steve Thomas told the BBC, “Nuclear power plants are the most complicated piece of equipment we make. Cost of nuclear power plants has tended to go up throughout history as accidents happen and we design measures to deal with the risk.”
The project has been controversial, and many worry that if it goes through as planned the government won’t commit as much to other sources of power that are renewable such as solar and wind. Others point out that onshore wind could already provide electricity at a less expensive price than the nuclear power station.
Even some environmentalists who are for nuclear power penned a piece for The Guardian stating Hinkley Point C “bears all the distinguishing features of a white elephant: overpriced, overcomplicated, and overdue” and the government should end the project.
Images via EDF Energy