@ Duncan Jeffery
'EDF reckon they can complete them by 2012. And the only rreason for the urgency was greenie bleating about how unsafe nuclear is - rather contradicted by the French experience and the fact that many other 'sensible' scandinavian countries are going down this route (Finland for instance).'
Setting aside Finland not being in Scandinavia...
...and Finland being the only one of the Nordic countries actually *considering* new nuclear power...
...That's turning out to be something of a fiasco. The Olkiluoto 3 plant should have opened this summer.
You may have noticed from the conspicuous lack of news - it hasn't.
It's now 50% over the stated budget, the French state company Areva is in dispute with the Finns for $1 billion and is not even willing to give a date when the plant will be commissioned. The utility company is even threatening to default on the project. And that's before the Finnish Nuclear Regulatory Authority criticised the number of defects. Everything from the concrete slab its built on upwards has been found to be substandard. The concrete was too porous, cracks were found in the concrete and some of the welders were not properly qualified to be working on the project.
The second reactor of the European Pressurised Reactor design at Flamanville is also well behind schedule and massively over budget - and that's the revised budget which was 25% higher than that quoted for Olkiluoto. The EPR design has still not been certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the US and a couple of American utilities have just dumped the design because it could cost upwards of $8 billion a reactor.
It'd cost less than £2 billion to build a HVDC cable to bring an equivalent amount of reliable, clean hydropower from Iceland to the UK. That'd also solve the bugbear of providing power in the event of calm weather of Western Europe and help keep their economy ticking over nicely.