Contracts worth £250m for the proposed Hinkley C power station have been announced but a campaign group claims the deals are “jumping the gun”. EDF Energy has made the deals despite the UK government reviewing the plans and not yet giving final approval for the nuclear plant. The French firm said it was “highly positive” the plant would be built. Those opposed to the nuclear build said EDF was attempting to “twist” the arm of the government. Earlier this month EDF agreed to invest in the first new UK nuclear plant in 20 years, and was poised to exchange contracts with the government. But hours after the decision was announced by the French energy firm, the government said it would review the plans and make its decision in the autumn. Roy Pumfrey, of the campaign group Stop Hinkley, said: “They’re trying to bounce the British government into not having a pause, but perhaps even having the Prime Minister returning from holiday in Switzerland to say, ‘All right, we’ll give in, we’ll go ahead with it’.
BBC 18th Aug 2016 read more »
Without Hinkley Point C, the potential to have a real and considered debate about the future shape of the electricity system has loomed into view, writes Bridget Woodman, Course Director, MSc Energy Policy, at the University of Exeter. According to Woodman, the UK government’s decision to delay a final go-ahead on the project makes it possible to start debating the sorts of options being considered widely around the world, with measures to encourage more flexible, smaller-scale, renewable systems incorporating demand-side measures and new technologies such as storage. These are extraordinary times for energy policy in the UK. After years of resigned acceptance that the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station would be built no matter how much of a basket case it was, the government has surprised everyone by calling a halt to the process until the autumn. Few people argue that Hinkley Point C makes sense. The project’s budget has grown from original estimates of £16 billion to £24.5 billion today. Even this might be an underestimate given the experience of cost overruns similar reactors under construction in Finland, France and China. Putting all of the subsidies in place has required the UK government to essentially redesign the electricity market over thelast few years in an effort to create a situation where investment in a new plant looked attractive. Pretty much every major policy design has been geared towards creating a perfect environment for Hinkley Point C. That’s why it’s such a surprise to see the government has now stepped back – a bit – from the brink. Without Hinkley Point C, the potential to have a real and considered debate about the future shape of the electricity system has loomed into view. Now is the time to start considering the sorts of options being considered widely around the world, with measures to encourage more flexible, smaller-scale, renewable systems incorporating demand-side measures and new technologies such as storage. A system that is the absolute antithesis of what Hinkley Point C represents. Suddenly UK energy policy has become very exciting indeed.
Energy Post 12th Aug 2016 read more »
Electricite de France SA should receive lower payments for the power generated by its planned nuclear reactors in southwest England if the project is delayed beyond 2025, a former Conservative minister who now lobbies for the nuclear industry said. “The value to the U.K. of Hinkley diminishes if it delays, because it’s needed by 2025 as other plants are closing,” New Nuclear Watch Europe Chairman Tim Yeo, who served as environment minister in the 1990s, said in an interview in London. “Part of the justification for this high price was that Hinkley would be contributing significantly to security of energy supply by 2025. If Hinkley isn’t on stream by 2025, the strike price should be reduced for each year completion is delayed.”
Bloomberg 18th Aug 2016 read more »
An engineer accused of stealing American nuclear secrets for a company owned by the Chinese state that is investing in Hinkley Point has accused the FBI of tricking him into making incriminating statements. Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho, an American citizen born in Taiwan, was arrested in Atlanta in April and accused of spying. He is now in prison awaiting a decision on a $1 million bail hearing. The US Justice Department has accused him of threatening US security by attempting to recruit American nuclear experts for the Chinese government. He denies the charges. Dr Ho, 66, was working for China General Nuclear Power Corp, a partner in the Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset. He is also accused of conspiring to produce plutonium for the Chinese government. If found guilty, he could face life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Times 18th Aug 2016 read more »