After RWE and E.ON backed out of building new UK nuclear plant, the future of UK nuclear power generation was looking pretty bleak.
Not to worry! The Russian state atomic energy agency Rosatom is looking to acquire a stake in Horizon which E.ON and RWE are selling, claiming that they are totally down with building the UK's next generation of reactors:
Sergey Novikov, Rosatom's Director of Communications, told The Daily Telegraph: "The British market is potentially attractive for Rosatom. Rosatom can give all guarantees that the construction of a NPP [nuclear power plant] in the UK will meet absolutely all international safety requirements and International Atomic Energy Agency standards."Sergey, my old chum, I've no doubt that you believe this to be true. But, really, "safety engineering" and "Russia" are not two phrases that you would normally expect to occur in the same sentence. As an example, I offer you today's XKCD cartoon on the oceanic depths where its author Randall Munroe mentions in passing the Kola Borehole where the Russians drilled over 12km into the Earth's crust, essentially just to see what would happen. Munroe notes "Russians are awesome" which is true enough, but do you really want these engineers building nuclear plant anywhere near where you live? Note that I have the class not to mention a certain Ukraine-based reactor where they turned off all the safety features before running an overload test in 1986.
What could possibly go wrong? (And this is before considering the political aspects: where does a lot of UK gas currently come from?)