The six union members on EDF’s 18-seat board would vote against the French utility’s plans for two nuclear reactors in the UK, but other board members do not want to postpone the project, sources familiar with the situation said. The unions want EDF to put off the 18 billion pound ($26 billion) project to build two Areva-designed European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) at Hinkley Point in southwest England until it has strengthened its balance sheet and started up at least one of the four EPRs it has under construction elsewhere. A united front of EDF’s unions opposing a major investment decision would be unprecedented, but the lack of support from other board members removes a major element of uncertainty for the plan. On Monday, EDF’s dominant CGT union, which has three board members, called on the firm to postpone the project, saying EDF should prioritise upgrading its ageing nuclear fleet in France, start up the long-delayed EPR it is building in Flamanville, and design a new-model EPR reactor. The more radical FO union, which as one board seat, also said on Monday it was “urgent to wait” and said that going ahead with Hinkley Point could put EDF’s very survival at risk. The CFE-CGC manager’s union had issued a similar warning last month. The moderate CFDT union has not made any statements about the UK project. With six seats on the 18-member board the unions are a large minority block and would need to get at least three other board members to side with them. Since EDF board member Philippe Varin is also chairman of Areva, he cannot vote on the UK project, which means that nine votes could block it. Besides the six union members, EDF also has six independent board members – including its chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy, Varin and the chairmen of listed French firms Vallourec and Lafarge – while six other members are appointed by the state. Three of these people are government officials. Two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters that none of the other independent or state-appointed board members would side with the unions.
Reuters 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
The executive who had been in charge of French energy giant EDF’s £18bn construction of Hinkley Point C has left the company for another role in the US. Christopher Bakken had been EDF’s project director for Hinkley, leading on its design, licensing, procurement, construction and commissioning. He’s left to become executive vice president and chief nuclear officer for US-based Entergy Corporation from April 6th “[He] has decided to return to the USA, his home country, to pursue new professional opportunities while allowing him to spend more time with his family,”EDF said in a statement. One expert told City A.M. that Bakken’s departure was yet another indicator of the fiasco that Hinkley Point C has collapsed into. “A brief review of this week’s and last week’s press … indicates the fiasco that Hinkley Point C has become,” Dr Paul Dorfman, a senior researcher at UCL’s Energy Institute, told City A.M.
City AM 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
The man in charge of building an £18bn nuclear power plant in Somerset has resigned his post amid continued uncertainty over when the company will give the final go-ahead for the project. Chris Bakken has been named as the next chief nuclear officer for Entergy, the US power company, a post he will begin on April 6. That will mean he leaves his current job as project director for Hinkley Point C, a huge nuclear power station project in Somerset that has been dogged by delays. EDF said: “Chris Bakken has decided to return to the USA, his home country, to pursue new professional opportunities whilst allowing him to spend more time with his family.” The company has appointed Philippe Bordarier, currently the chief nuclear officer for EDF Energy Generation, to run the project. Under current plans, Hinkley Point is due to be completed by 2025, after which it will provide 7 per cent of Britain’s electricity. But the process has dragged on in part because of technology problems at the company’s plant at Flamanville, in Normandy, which is built to the same specifications. Anti-nuclear campaigners said Mr Bakken’s move was another sign that the project is in trouble. John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace, said: “Coming just days after the EDF board failed to agree a final go-ahead for Hinkley, this move is yet another symptom of the disquiet this project is causing within the company itself. “The whole enterprise makes so little economic sense that EDF’s own staff and many board members are concerned it will seriously damage the company. ” But EDF said the project is ready for its final investment decision. Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of the UK arm of EDF, recently told a parliamentary dinner: “I can tell you that I am absolutely confident that Hinkley Point C will be reaching a final investment decision soon.”
FT 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
The executive in charge of EDF’s project to build an £18 billion nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset has quit the French state-controlled electricity company for a job in the United States. Christopher Bakken III, the American who has served as project director for EDF’s Hinkley plant since 2011, is leaving to take up a new role as chief nuclear officer for Entergy, an American utility company, EDF said. His departure comes amid growing questions over the project. Last week, EDF delayed a key board meeting at which executives were expected to make a final investment decision on building the nuclear facility. Once built in the mid-2020s, it would generate 7 per cent of UK electricity.
Times 3rd Feb 2016 read more »
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Energydesk 2nd Feb 2016 read more »
Ministers have insisted they have “absolutely nothing to apologise about” over a row relating to steel procurement for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station project. Iain Wright, the Labour MP for Hartlepool, said a letter he received from the Business Minister Anna Soubry stated that “few companies globally” have the ability to make the large forgings required for nuclear power plants and that “it is widely understood and accepted in the nuclear industry that the UK does not have this capacity”. But Mr Wright has insisted that Sheffield Forgemasters could do the work as he questioned the Business Secretary Sajid Javid on the subject. Mr Wright said: “Given that Sheffield Forgemasters have said that they do in fact have this capacity and indeed have supplied such forgings elsewhere in the world to nuclear plants, what evidence did the Minister use and has the Secretary of State asked the Minister what evidence was used to make this statement? “Does he not think it is appropriate to scrutinise the rationale behind such a sweeping statement that dismisses world class British steel manufacturing?” But Mr Javid told the House that Mr Wright did not have “up to date” information. Responding during business questions, he said: “If you were to speak to Forgemasters yourself, and I am sure as the chairman of the select committee they would be more than happy to talk to you, they themselves will admit that they have challenges meeting all orders for different types of steel.
Western Morning News 2nd Feb 2016 read more »