School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences

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How much will this really cost?

Alun Ellis from the NDA is quoted by Sunday Times 2012 at the total cost being 2Bn. This already inflated to 4Bn in the Mirror one day later. So it's possible that Alan forgot some items - like the access railway and roads.

But what can you get for 2Billion, nowadays?

The original Forth Road Bridge opened in 1966, at a cost of 20M including the roads. Inflating that to 2016, you'd expect maybe 640M However the new Forth Crossing will be 2 to 2.3 Billion, depending on who you believe. The price of doing anything engineering in the UK has a very high inflation rate.

The Channel Tunnel was 50km long, with 5 million cubic metres of rubble on the UK side alone. Privately financed, the total investment costs at 1985 prices were 2600 million. At the 1994 completion actual costs were, in 1985 prices, 4650 million: an 80% cost overrun. The cost overrun was partly due to enhanced safety, security, and environmental demands. Financing costs were 140% higher than forecast. Inflating that from 4.5Bn in1994 to a Dump opening in 2024, gives an estimate of up to 40 Billion. To be fair, the channel tunnel is arguably three parallel tunnels, so may be more expensive. But what is the estimated waste rock volume from the dump site? And it's probably fair to predict that enhanced safety may be a request at a dump site too.

So 2Billion from Mr Ellis seems very implausible. At least 30 Billion, which is about 3pence extra on each kilowatt hour of too cheap to meter nuclear electricity.

Fair, or not ?