Did UK Prime Minister May bend to Costain’s will in allowing EDF’s new Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station to move forward? In our opinion, predictably so. More than anything, nuclear new build is about large construction projects, which is why no one cares if they are ever completed, nor the cost overruns. More broadly, it is about a lack of vision, without which we will all perish. For the Hinkley Nuclear new build Project (Hinkley C), Costain, in Theresa May’s constituency, was chosen to construct the cooling water tunnels – 9 km of tunnels under the Severn Estuary. In 2006, Prime Minister Theresa May decried unfair subsidies for new nuclear power stations: “But the Government could do far more to promote green energy, rather than giving unfair subsidies to new nuclear power stations.” In the same statement she said that she welcomed “that the Government has responded to cross-party pressure to make it easier for homes in Maidenhead and across the country to install renewable energy like solar panels or mini-wind turbines.“
Mining Awareness 15th Sept 2016 read more »
“Hinkley Point demonstrates the folly of “industrial strategy”. The government is backing a hugely expensive way of producing electricity on the spurious grounds that it will reduce carbon emissions, increase energy security and create jobs Continual government interference in energy markets makes it more difficult for companies to plan and therefore undermines private investment. Expensive government schemes therefore substitute for more efficient private sector investment.”
IEA 15th Sept 2016 read more »
For years, it has been doubtful when EDF would actually start building Hinkley in earnest, let alone complete it. With de Rivaz in jubilant mood as he calls the Telegraph hours after the decision, surely now he might entertain talk of when we’ll finally see that first nuke-roast turkey? The Frenchman’s voice drops to a growl. “Chriss-mass tur-key,” he spits down the line, with what I’m only half-sure is mock contempt, before letting out a theatrical sigh. “I will tell you something,” he says. “We have said in October 2015 that the commissioning of Hinkley Point C will be 2025. And, I am pleased to tell you, that I confirm that it is what we are going to do. Few in the energy industry share the Frenchman’s confidence that Hinkley Point C will be ready by 2025. In fact, many still question whether it should be built at all. Neither Bradwell nor China got any mention in the Government’s announcements on Thursday, prompting speculation over whether Beijing could yet get cold feet. CGN publicly shrugged off the safeguards, declaring itself “delighted” and saying it could now move forward with Bradwell. De Rivaz also insists the new measures are no obstacle. “We have no issue at all with that, and nor have our Chinese partners any issue about that.” There is clearly still a huge amount to do to actually build Hinkley on t ime and on budget, and there are major questions over Sizewell, originally scheduled to follow on four years later. EDF needed a bail-out from the French government to afford Hinkley, and even then only narrowly got the project approved by its board. How on earth is it going to pay for another one? On Bradwell, the questions are even greater. CGN’s Hualong One reactor needs safety approval for use in the UK, which will “take several years”, as well as planning consent, a nuclear site licence and a subsidy deal. “Bradwell has to go through many hurdles and I am confident that at the end they will succeed,” de Rivaz says. Last October, he suggested the very earliest Bradwell could start construction would be 2022, but says he no longer wishes to put any date on it.
Telegraph 17th Sept 2016 read more »
Jeremy Warner: The on, off, and now on again decision over the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is a case in point. Absolutely nothing beyond a little bit of window-dressing has been gained from the one-and-a-half-month review Mrs May ordered. The proposed “golden share”, allowing the Government to block any change of ownership, is a completely meaningless piece of cosmetic surgery that fails in any way to address underlying concerns over the cost, security and even necessity of this monstrously over-ambitious project. I cheered when she announced the review. It’s never too late to cut your losses and stop something that plainly doesn’t stack up, but having made her point – which I assume is that she is no pushover – she has now caved in and gone ahead anyway. by announcing a pause for reflection, and then proceeding as planned anyway, she’s managed to rub just about everyone up the wrong way, including those of us who all along thought Hinkley entirely the wrong approach to energy policy. It’s not clear that we need it, and there are in any case much better and cheaper alternatives. Hinkley also locks Britain into an exclusively Chinese “design, build and oper ate” plant at Bradwell in Essex. There is really no way out from this further nuclear plant now that the commitment to Hinkley has been made, since for the Chinese, Bradwell is the quid pro quo for investing in Hinkley. It makes the four-year “generic design assessment” China General Nuclear Power will have to go through before gaining final approval little more than a charade. But of all the justifications for Hinkley that have been advanced, perhaps the most feeble is that it will create lots of work. It’s an explanation that brings to mind the story about the economist Milton Friedman, who on being shown construction work on a new canal in Asia, asks why there are so few machines to speed the process. He is told the project is, at least in part, a job-creation scheme. Friedman replied: “Oh, I thought you were building a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.” I’m all for reaching out to the “just managing to get by” , but let’s do it in an economically sound manner.
Telegraph 17th Sept 2016 read more »
Liam Halligan: After years of negotiations, posturing and pencil-sucking, plus a final review by our new Prime Minister, the construction of a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point has been approved. I think that was wrong. My reasons have little to do with the major role overseas interests will play in developing the UK’s first new nuclear station in over two decades. French atomic giant EDF is to build the £18bn Somerset plant, ending up as the two-thirds majority shareholder. And the Chinese government will provide the other third of the cash. I have no particular problem with that. I’m not too concerned, either, by the 300,000-strong petition delivered to No10 by Greenpeace, calling for Hinkley to be scrapped, while dissing atomic energy in general. It seems to me that nuclear power, on the contrary, is vital to t he UK’s energy security. Providing constant “baseload” electricity in a way renewables don’t, UK atomic stations meet around a fifth of our energy needs – and will remain important, not least as hydrocarbons deplete. Having been pioneers in the civilian use of nuclear, though, the UK’s plants are now on their last legs, and are all due to close by 2030. The problem with Hinkley is that it’s a ghastly deal for taxpayers.
Telegraph 17th Sept 2016 read more »