EDF has claimed that a new nuclear reactor it is developing will be a better and cheaper version of the two it is building in Britain. The state-owned French energy group said that its “optimised” version of the European Pressurised Reactor being installed at Hinkley Point in Somerset would be unveiled in 2020 and was destined initially for the French market. A spokeswoman said that the optimised reactor would be between 25 per cent and 30 per cent cheaper than the existing version. It is scheduled to be available for use from 2030. The newspaper Le Monde reported that the new reactor could cost as little as 6 billion euros or £5.3 billion. The cost of the two reactors due to come on stream at Hinkley Point in 2025 is £19.6 billion. Any improvements in EDF’s reactors would raise more questions about the sustainability of the Hinkley Point C project and another power station at Sizewell, Suffolk. However, British experts derided the announcement of an optimised and cheaper reactor as a sign of the French company’s desperation. Paul Dorfman, founder of the Nuclear Consulting Group, said EDF’s claim that costs could come down “goes against all technological logic”. He dismissed the claim as a public relations exercise to avert a plunge in EDF’s credit rating and as an attempt to woo President Macron, who is strongly in favour of nuclear power.
Times 17th Feb 2018 read more »