Four of Britain’s oldest nuclear power plants are to keep generating electricity for up to seven years longer than planned, renewing fears about the capability of Britain’s over-stretched nuclear safety regulator to cope with a growing workload. EDF, the French state-owned energy giant, said the Heysham 1 plant in Lancashire and another at Hartlepool in Co Durham, both of which had been due to be switched off in 2019 because of their advanced age, would be allowed to keep producing electricity for another five years. Two other reactors, Heysham 2 and Torness in Scotland, have been granted extensions of seven years to 2030. Andy Blowers, a nuclear industry consultant, expressed concern that the Office for Nuclear Regulation, Britain’s under-resourced safety regulator, would not be able to manage its growing workload. “If they have to put a lo t of effort into regulating these three stations on top of all their other work, then that is quite intolerable,” he said.
Times 17th Feb 2016 read more »
EDF plans to extend the life of four nuclear power plants in the UK and has said it is close to announcing a decision on its investment in two new reactors at Hinkley Point. Paul Dorfman of the UCL Energy Institute said EDF’s financial position cast doubt on the prospects for Hinkley Point. “Unfortunately, with the best will in the world, it may just not happen,” he told the BBC’s Today programme. “EDF shares have crashed to half their value a year ago; the budget for Hinkley alone is bigger than EDF’s entire market value.” Greenpeace said EDF and the French government were in disarray over the cost and risk of the Hinkley project. Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK’s policy director, said: “EDF’s accounts show growing debts and falling earnings. Hinkley is a bad investment and most people with an ounce of financial acumen have now come to realise this. George Osborne stands alone in defending Hinkley’s honour.”
Guardian 16th Feb 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) notes a number of contradictory issues in the debate over nuclear power in the UK after various announcements today by EDF, the company that runs a number of UK power stations and hopes to build new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point and Sizewell. The media has led in most bulletins today on the announcement from EDF that it is seeking to extend the operating life of nuclear reactors at Heysham, Hartlepool and Torness. This has been welcomed in the media as a positive announcement in ensuring the UK’s security of supply. Heysham 1 and Hartlepool nuclear power reactors will have life extensions of five years until 2024, while Heysham 2 and Torness will see their life extensions pushed on by seven years to 2030. At the same time, EDF announced that its 2015 profits fell 68% to €1.18bn. The BBC noted that this is mainly due to write-downs on coal-fired plants. These results were seen as below analysts’ expectations. As a result, EDF has announced it will cut its dividend by 15 cents to €1.10 a share. EDF has seen its shares fall almost 25% since the start of 2016, and by 50% from a year ago.
NFLA 16th Feb 2016 read more »