Britain’s flagship energy project, Hinkley Point C, is hanging by a thread as critics inside key backer EDF use the political turmoil from the Brexit vote to try to derail the already delayed £18bn scheme. Jean Bernard Levy, the EDF group chief executive, and the French and British governments, have in recent days insisted they are as committed as ever to a positive final investment decision being taken as soon as possible. But well-placed sources in Paris have told the Guardian that the already divided EDF board, which must make that decision, is in danger of fracturing further as former supporters of the project worry about Brexit. “The situation for Levy was already very delicate,” said one source. “But it has become a lot more difficult because there is so little certainty around the British government,” they added. “No one could know today which way a vote [of the board on Hinkley] would go.” Those arguing against the project say it is impossible to make any decisions when it is unclear who will be the future prime minister, chancellor of the exchequer and energy and climate change secretary. Highly critical EDF unions in France, which have six representatives on the main board, are pressing waiverers among the five independent board members who have previously supported Levy to change their minds. Growing concern has led to four British trade unions urging EDF to press ahead with Hinkley.
Guardian 1st July 2016 read more »
Britain’s vote to leave the EU makes it “more necessary than ever” for EDF to delay making a final investment decision on the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in the UK, said three powerful trade unions representing thousands of workers at the company. The CGT, CFE-CGC and the FO unions issued a joint statement on Thursday saying the Brexit vote added “new elements of uncertainty” to the £18bn project that is due be built in south-west England by the French state-controlled utility. A majority of the EDF unions – which have considerable influence at the company by having six seats on the 18-member board – want to delay any binding commitment to Hinkley Point. The unions are also concerned that the EPR reactor technology that will be used is still untested, with no working example in the world. The EDF workers’ committee – an official body within the company made up largely of union members – is legally obliged to give its official opinion on whether Hinkley Point should go ahead on July 4. Last week the committee filed a legal claim to try to delay that decision. It alleged that EDF has “refused” to give the body key documents about Hinkley Point C. EDF has rejected the allegations. A court hearing about the workers’ committee claim is scheduled for September 22. On Thursday, the CGT, CFE-CGC and the FO urged the EDF board not to make the final investment decision at least until after this legal hearing. Emmanuel Macron, the French economy minister, on Tuesday insisted that the UK vote to leave the EU would have “no consequences” for the Hinkley Point project, urging EDF to press ahead with its final investment decision. But in a BBC interview on Wednesday, Michel Sapin, the French finance minister, said the project had become “more difficult” following the Brexit vote.
FT 30th June 2016 read more »
British Unions have stepped up their support for the delayed Hinkley Point nuclear power station, saying that confirming the financial go-ahead will be the first big “litmus test” for infrastructure projects following the EU referendum result. The GMB, Unite, Ucatt, and Prospect unions have written to the chief executive of EDF Energy, Vincent de Rivaz, saying it is “vital” that a final investment decision is made. The letter said: “UK trade unions are 100% in support of Hinkley Point C and believe that it is vital to make a final investment decision in a timely fashion soon after the consultation process (between EDF and the French unions) is completed (on 4 July). “Nuclear new build is already behind the curve. We cannot afford further delay and it is vital for EDF to make a final investment decision now.”
Energy Voice 1st July 2016 read more »
Four powerful labor unions in Britain are calling the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant construction project the first major “litmus test” for the country in the wake of its landmark vote last week for the country to quit its membership in the European Union.
Nuclear Street 1st July 2016 read more »
Morning Star 2nd July 2016 read more »
Bridgwater Mercury 1st July 2016 read more »