British taxpayers could be landed with a bill of up to £22 billion if a future government shut down EDF’s Hinkley Point nuclear power station before 2060, according to official documents. The “poison pill” clause is contained in unpublicised minutes submitted by officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to parliament last October. They say: “In certain, highly unlikely scenarios where there is a political shutdown of [Hinkley] by a UK, EU or international competent authority, payments could be up to around £22 billion excluding non-decommissioning operational costs that may be incurred after any shutdown.” David Lowry, a nuclear research consultant, said the clause offered evidence that the contract to build the Â£18 billion power station in Somerset was disastrous. “It’s clearly meant to make sure that the government can’t back out,” he said. “It shows all of the public interest is being transferred to a French electricity company with zero benefit to the UK taxpayer.”
Times 19th March 2016 read more »
The Hinkley nuclear power deal contains a “poison pill” which could leave taxpayers with a £22bn bill if a future UK government closed the plant before 2060, according to an official document seen by the Guardian. The huge liability shows Hinkley is a “terrible deal” for the UK public, according to critics, with the company also guaranteed three times today’s price for electricity for 35 years. The project has recently been battered by financial warnings and resignations at its prime backer EDF, although on Thursday France’s economics minister, Emmanuel Macron, said that the French state would bail the company out. The deal the UK g overnment has agreed with EDF, set out in an unpublicised “minute”, commits the British public to pay subsidies of up to about £40bn in real terms and provides state guarantees on nuclear waste disposal and insurance, while allowing the plant to begin producing electricity as late as 2033. A shutdown that triggers the “poison pill” compensation is not entirely within the control of the UK government but could also be forced by the EU or an international regulator such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to the document. Tom Burke at thinktank E3G, a former special adviser to three Conservative environment secretaries, said: “Why would a Conservative government want to buy 35 years of electricity ahead of time? They are supposed to be lieve in the market. But they have tied themselves in knots and now it is too embarrassing to untie it.” The UK government argues that new nuclear power is essential to provide large amounts of reliable, low-carbon energy. Prof Catherine Mitchell said: “Energy economics are changing rapidly and so the momentum is towards decentralised, smart and flexible energy systems. It is moving away from large, inflexible power plants like Hinkley. If it ever gets funded, it will be a white elephant before it is even finished and this government, with this £22bn ‘poison pill’, will have tied the next generation into paying for it, for no reason that I can understand. If it is simply political saving face, it really is pitiful.”
Guardian 18th March 2016 read more »
‘If the SoSIA is signed it will change the argument over Hinkley. Instead of being an argument about why we should kill this white elephant – which the government has comprehensively lost – it will become an argument about not being able to afford the bullets to kill the white elephant. A classic example of the government stealth tactics for getting away with bad decisions.’
Tom Burke 18th March 2016 read more »
Plans for to build a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C are back on track after the French Government promised to financially back firm EDF Energy. The new £18million nuclear plant will provide electricity for five million homes and created more than 25,000 jobs in the region. Part of the headquarters for EDF will be based in Bristol, and is expected to bring a massive boost to the city and the surrounding area. EDF Energy will be giving evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee next Wednesday to give an update on the situation to ministers.
Bristol Post 18th March 2016 read more »
Hinkley Point C, the controversial £18bn nuclear plant planned in south-west England, looks ever-more likely to go ahead after the French government vowed to bail out its main backer.The UK government is also making moves to reassure EDF its investment is safe. It has agreed to new provisions that includes what The Guardian describes as a £22bn “poison pill” for the taxpayer – a liability for losses should the plant be shut down by either a future government or international regulators in the next 35 years.
The Week 18th March 2016 read more »
Five Ways to power the UK that are far better than Hinkley.Energy policy expert Jonathan Gaventa, from the thinktank E3G, has come up with five better ways of powering the nation: Energy efficiency; wind turbines; solar; interconnectors; storage and flexibility. So why isn’t Hinkley dead already? Many energy policy experts are baffled. But veteran green campaigner Jonathan Porritt, who chaired the UK’s sustainable development commission for a decade, thinks he knows: “Hinkley is a deal that has nothing to do with market reality. Nothing to do with affordability, let alone with the ‘hard-working families’ that [energy secretary] Amber Rudd keeps bleating on about. And nothing to do with addressing our climate change responsibilities. “By contrast, it’s got everything to do with political leaders in three nations – the UK, France and China – all of which ‘need’ Hinkley Point to happen for grubby geopolitical interests of their own.”
Guardian 18th Mar 2016 read more »
EDF bosses to be grilled by MPs over Hinkley.
Burnham-on-sea.com 18th Mar 2016 read more »