EDF has not put the investment decision for its plan to build two nuclear reactors in Hinkley Point, Britain, on the agenda for its board meeting on Monday, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters. The state-owned utility’s board is set to focus on the firm’s 2015 earnings – which will be released on Tuesday – despite press speculation about an imminent decision on Hinkley. A new internal report by Yannick d’Escatha, former head of French state nuclear agency CEA, raises serious doubts about whether the Hinkley Point C project could be realised on schedule. The project’s 18 billion pound (23.21 billion euros) budget is bigger than EDF’s 22.5 billion euro market value. One source said some unions and EDF insiders are proposing that EDF and its Chinese partner CGN postpone the plan by a few years and offer the UK government to build European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) “New Model”, instead of the current model.
Reuters 14th Feb 2016 read more »
The giant French energy company EDF is under pressure to abandon or delay building the nuclear power station in Somerset which is at the heart of David Cameron’s strategy to “keep the lights on” in Britain in the next decade. The board of the largely state-owned company is expected to postpone a decision once again on whether to commit to the £18.6bn Hinkley Point C project, which is supposed to provide 7 per cent of Britain’s electricity by 2025. An internal report to the EDF board has warned that for technical reasons it will be impossible to complete the two “new generation” nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point within the nine-year timetable. The report also suggests that the much-delayed project would be financially disastrous for the struggling French company, despite a commitment by the British Government to pay double the market rate for the station’s electricity. EDF is also reported to be having difficulty raising the £12.4bn it needs to build the two European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) in Somerset – a capital sum almost as much as it entire stock market valuation. The company’s powerful unions and several senior EDF executives are said to believe that the project could be suicidal for the world’s biggest generator of nuclear energy. They want EDF to abandon the project – or at least persuade Britain to wait for another three years until a more advanced generation of EPR reactors is available.
Independent 14th Feb 2016 read more »
EDF has still not secured funding for a £18bn nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, further delaying one of the UK’s biggest energy projects. Board members at the French utility will meet on Monday to sign off on the company’s annual results. Some supporters of the Hinkley Point plant had hoped they would use the meeting to give the scheme their final approval but two people close to the process told the Financial Times that EDF had not secured the necessary funding. The final investment decision is not on the formal agenda, those people said, with one person saying it could be several months before all the financing is lined up. “The question of the funding is far from being resolved,” one person close to the process said. “EDF and the French state would need to sell assets under good conditions and in a short period of time, which seems quite complex at the moment considering EDF’s share price.” The utility is grappling with a large debt load as well as increased competition in its domestic market. Shares in the company have fallen 55 per cent in the past year, reducing its market capitalisation to 19.5bn euros. The group has net debt of 37bn euros. The market turmoil this year has made discussions over the financing more difficult, one person close to the talks said. EDF is in discussions with the French government to help find financing. EDF is also spending at least 1.25bn euros to buy a majority stake in Areva reactor unit, Areva NP, as part of a government-backed bailout. It also faces a 100bn euros bill to upgrade its ageing nuclear power stations by 2030. EDF said in September last year that the plant it is building in Flamanville, Normandy – already years overdue – would be delayed another year until 2018 and would cost 10.5bn euros up from an initial budget of 3bn euros.
FT 14th Feb 2016 read more »
Letter Allan Jeffery: Before Hinkley C can be built, the EPR reactor of the same design being built at Flamanville in France must be completed and be established generating. before 2020, or else the UK government’s guarantees and financial agreements fall apart. So it is not surprising that EDF tried to go unnoticed as it drove a convoy carrying the steel lid and pressure vessel from Chalon, where it was produced across France to Flamanville, though this was documented and publicised by Greenpeace last week. These two parts, the pressure vessel and lid, could signal the final death tomb of the dream French EPR nuclear reactor, because they do not meet the high quality safety standards required for nuclear technology. In April the French Nuclear Safety Authority, (the ASN) discovered a very serious default in the composition of the steel used in the pressure vessel. Tests showed excessive presence of carbon, which makes the steel more brittle and subject to breakage. The pressure vessel contains the huge amounts of atomic fission energy in the core.
Bridgwater Mercury 14th Feb 2016 read more »