“Fortune’s expensive smile is earned”*…
“Hinkley [the nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, UK] is set to be the most expensive object on Earth… best guesses say Hinkley could pass £24bn ($35bn),” said the environmental charity Greenpeace last month as it launched a petition against the project.
This figure includes an estimate for paying interest on borrowed money, but the financing arrangements for Hinkley C are so opaque that it is impossible to calculate exactly what the final cost will be.
Even if you stick with the expense of construction alone, though, the price is still high – the main contractor, EDF, puts it at £18bn ($26bn).
For that sum you could build a small forest of Burj Khalifas – the world’s tallest building, in Dubai, cost a piffling £1bn ($1.5bn). You could also knock up more than 70 miles of particle accelerator. The 17-mile-long Large Hadron Collider, built under the border between France and Switzerland to unlock the secrets of the universe, cost a mere £4bn ($5.8bn).
The most expensive bridge ever constructed is the eastern replacement span of the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco, designed to withstand the strongest earthquake seismologists would expect within the next 1,500 years. That cost about £4.5bn ($6.5bn)…
More jaw-dropping comparisons (and an explanation of the cost) at “What is the most expensive object on Earth?” Even more background at “Should the UK pull plug on Hinkley Point nuclear power station?” (from whence, the photo above).
* Emily Dickinson
As we duck and cover, we might send birthday greetings that glow in the dark to David Allan Bromley; he was born on this date in 1926. A winner of the National Medal of Science, Bromley is considered the “father of modern heavy ion science.” He had a distinguished career in academia (retiring as the first Sterling Professor of Science at Yale) and in government (first at Atomic Energy of Canada, then as Science Advisor to two U.S. presidents). Among his many achievements, he is probably best remembered as the founder and first head of Yale’s A.W. Wright Nuclear Structure Laboratory, which has produced more experimental nuclear physicists than any other facility.