Senior managers at EDF have told MPs that they remain convinced that the French state-controlled group should postpone the Hinkley Point project until it has solved a litany of problems, including the reactor design and multibillion-euro lawsuits over delays on similar schemes. The letter from EDF managers to the UK parliament’s energy and climate change committee is the latest setback for the proposed Â£18bn nuclear plant, a flagship government energy policy that is intended to provide 7% of Britain’s electricity from about 2025, at a time when old coal and atomic plants are closing down. In April, the French comp any said it was delaying a final investment decision (FID) until September while it consulted with trade unions, but engineers and other middle managers appear to remain implacably opposed. A letter addressed to Angus MacNeil, the chairman of the committee, from the Federation Nationale des Cadres Superieurs de l’energie (FNCS) union “advises to delay the FID until better upfront industrial visibility is evidenced”. Outstanding problems highlighted by the senior managers at EDF include: Areva NP, the designer of the European pressurised reactor (EPR) planned for Somerset, “is currently facing a difficult situation”. The French nuclear safety authority (ASN) may not give the green light to the EPR being constructed at Flamanville in north-west France due to various anomalies. There may be “identical flaws” in an Areva EPR being built at Taishan 1 in China. The scandal over falsification of parts from Areva’s Le Creusot that potentially put safety checks at risk. Multibillion-euro litigation between Areva and the Finnish energy group TVO over delays to an EPR scheme at Olkiluoto remains unsettled.An EDF offer to purchase Areva expired on 31 March, leaving “governance uncertainties upon the implementation of the Hinkley Point C project”.
Guardian 17th June 2016 read more »
Letter from French Union to House of Commons Select Committee: In the wake of the recent hearings which you led with respect to the Hinkley Point C project, I would like to share with you, on behalf of Fédération Française des Cadres Supérieurs de l’Énergie founded in 1948, the updated analysis which emerges from engineering staff and executives within EDF SA. Reliable conditions for committing in Nuclear New Build Genco Hinkley Point C would obviously have to be based on a robust and well prepared industrial organisation as requested by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environmental Agency (EA). The French Safety Authority (ASN) released that tests results do not comply with the regulation concerning the reactor vessel bottom and the reactor vessel head of the Flamanville 3 EPR. There is a risk that the final ASN clearance expected in Spring 2017 will be negative. In addition, the reactor vessel of Taishan 1 in China was also manufactured by Areva NP in Le Creusot plant and then suffers identical flaws. So far, there is no certainty that the EPR technology could be commissioned soon. Taishan 2 could possibly be the first EPR to be commissioned in the world. Feedback experience from EPR is then likely to be based under a later milestone than expected which would be now based on Taishan 2 commissioning’s time table. With respect to the Hinkley Point C project, the Fédération Nationale des Cadres Supérieurs de l’Énergie then advices to delay the FID until better upfront industrial visibility is evidenced.
Parliament 13th June 2016 read more »