French utility EDF should not delay the investment decision on plans to build two nuclear reactors in Britain as it could risk losing the contract, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday. Macron said he could understand calls to delay the 18 billion pound project until problems with two nuclear projects in Flamanville, France and Olkiluoto, Finland are sorted out, but the British government would see this as a renunciation of the project. “We need to understand that a delay would create a strong risk that we would lose the contract,” Macron told parliament in a briefing about EDF, which is 85 percent state owned. Macron said Chinese nuclear firms – which already have a strong presence in Britain – would be ready to take over the contract, which he said has an excellent return on equity. He added that losing the contract would have grave consequences for investment and employment in the French nuclear industry and for its credibility. Macron said EDF should make the Hinkley Point investment decision in early May, not at the next board meeting on March 30. He hoped that by early April there would be an agreement about conflicts relating to Olkiluoto, which is the subject of an arbitration suit in which reactor builder Areva and its Finnish customer TVO claim billions from one another.
Reuters 22nd March 2016 read more »
The French Finance Minister, Emmanuel Macron said the green light would not be lit until the beginning of May but signalled the French government’s strong support. “The principal nuclear project in the developed world is Hinkley Point. Can we legitimately choose not to take part in the largest nuclear project in the developed world? For my part, I don’t think so.”
BBC 22nd March 2016 read more »
A decision on funding for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station could be made in May 2016, the project’s developer EDF Energy has suggested. According to reports, French economy minister Emmanuel Macron has said a final investment decision from EDF, which is 85 per cent state-owned, is expected in early May. He is also said to have told the French parliament that it is “unlikely” that EDF would elect not to be involved in the project.
Insider Media 23rd March 2016 read more »
Construction News 23rd March 2016 read more »
Sky News 22nd March 2016 read more »
Doubts about nuclear power and the rise of renewables suggests it is time to rethink energy policy says Paul Ekins.
New Scientist 23rd March 2016 read more »
Tomorrow morning, the saga that is Hinkley nuclear power station is set to continue as executives from EDF will face a grilling from MPs in parliament. As the media debate rages about Hinkley, MPs will now put questions to EDF – and other executives from the nuclear industry – about the cost and viability of the project and the value for money for consumers. To get beyond soundbites, the committee of MPs will need to ask EDF the right questions. The Guardian newspaper published a few of its own questions the other day. But we’ve come up with a few ideas too, to throw into the mix: 1. For several years, EDF has said that the final decision to invest in Hinkley would come soon, possibly as soon as EDF’s next board meeting on 30 March. We need to know – why should we believe EDF any more when they say “soon”, given that the project is already running several years late? 2. It’s been reported that EDF – a French company – could receive a financial bailout by the French state, to help the firm afford to invest in Hinkley and avoid plunging the energy firm into a financial black hole. However, European laws exist that prevent governments from giving excessive subsidies or financial aid to companies, which might mean that this isn’t a viable option. So does that mean that in fact EDF is getting unfairly generous treatment? 3. We know from newspaper reports that an independent French nuclear expert recently wrote a paper – that was presented to the EDF board – which outlined the financial and technical barriers to the Hinkley project. As EDF says it’s committed to transparency, can we expect to now receive a copy of the report? And will Chancellor George Osborne be sent a copy too? 4. This same paper suggested it would be a better option for EDF to build reactors in France, or to extend the life of existing reactors, and then ship the power over to UK via cables. So we’d like to know, has that option been discussed with the UK government? 5. Over the last couple of years, Greenpeace has been trying to access information that explains why EDF has been given such a good deal by the UK government. The department for energy and climate change (DECC) hasn’t wanted to reveal this information to protect EDF’s commercial confidentiality. But as EDF embraces scrutiny, will EDF now ask DECC officials to share the documents so that Greenpeace doesn’t have to take them to court to see them? 6. The Hinkley reactor design is the same as the reactors being made in France, Finland and China. None of them work. All of them are behind schedule by years, and over budget by billions. What makes EDF think that Hinkley will be any different? 7. Sadly the threat of terrorism has increased in recent years, so what measures does EDF have in place to protect the Hinkley power station, and the people and environment in the surrounding areas that could be affected by an incident? Hopefully, when the committee of MPs questions EDF tomorrow, we’ll start to see a few answers to the big issues outlined above.
Greenpeace 22nd March 2016 read more »
The most extraordinary facet of the parliamentary hearings today into Hinkley Point C and the future of the British nuclear industry is that it has taken until now for the House of Commons energy and climate change select committee to get its act together and call an investigation. The proposed £18 billion electricity generating station in Somerset, powered by two European pressurised nuclear reactors and being built by EDF, the mainly French government-owned energy company, has been a practical lesson in how difficult the delivery of a new nuclear age in Britain will be. Or, to put it another way, that the go-ahead has still not been given in 2016 – the year that forecasters have long fretted will usher in the era of too much electricity demand and not enough supply – raises huge doubts about whether UK nuclear has any future at all. Some MPs on the co mmittee are certainly among the naysayers, but with EDF still showing no sign of committing to a binding final investment decision, which the company claims will be in early May, the panel has finally called in all the principal players (except for the Treasury) to explain what the heck is going on.
Times 23rd March 2016 read more »
The economics of nuclear power in Europe are in meltdown, leaving taxpayers facing a heavy burden as the industry clings to pledges of huge public cash injections.
Eco Business 23rd March 2016 read more »