In 2006, the British government launched a policy to build nuclear power reactors based on a claim that the power produced would be competitive with fossil fuel and would require no public subsidy. A decade later, it is not clear how many, if any, orders will be placed and the claims on costs and subsidies have proved false. Despite this failure to deliver, the policy is still being pursued with undiminished determination. The finance model that is now proposed is seen as a model other European countries can follow so the success or otherwise of the British nuclear programme will have implications outside the UK. This paper that the checks and balances that should weed out misguided policies, have failed. It argues that the most serious failure is with the civil service and its inability to provide politicians with high quality advice – truth to power. It concludes that the failure is likely to be due to the unwillingness of politicians to listen to opinions that conflict with their beliefs. Other weaknesses include the lack of energy expertise in the media, the unwillingness of the public to engage in the policy process and the impotence of Parliamentary Committees.
Energy Policy September 2016 read more »
An organisation representing senior executives at EDF has written to the chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee calling for a final investment decision on Hinkley Point C to be delayed. In an open letter to Angus MacNeil, the president of the French Federation of Energy Senior Executives Norbert Tangy highlighted numerous difficulties faced by EDF. Most concerned the French nuclear reactor company Areva NP which – alongside EDF – developed the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) that is planned for Hinkley. In July last year EDF agreed to buy a majority stake in Areva NP at the behest of the French government, which owns the bulk of shares in both Areva and EDF. According to Tangy, Areva NP is currently facing a “difficult situation”, following “a series of bad news” since the beginning of the year. In April France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) announced that “irregularities” had been found in manufacturing checks on 400 reactor parts produced since 1965 at the Creusot steel forge, which Areva bought in 2006.
Utility Week 21st June 2016 read more »