The spectacle of the disastrous attempts to build a new generation of nuclear reactor – the European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) – and EDF’s apparent desire to carry on despite the increasing likelihood that the financial losses from this will destroy EDF as a going business (see my earlier blog posts on this) raise the question: If this is true, then why do they carry on with this apparent financial suicide? The answer can be analysed through something well known in political science: rational choice theory. This says that actors will pursue their self interest so that they can achieve the best outcome in a given set of circumstances that define their dilemmas. This can often lead to outcomes that are worse for everyone, despite people apparently pursuing their ‘rational’ self interest (eg see ‘prisoners dilemma’).The set of choices facing the leaders of EDF appear to them as follows: a) abandon Hinkley C and effectively end EDF’s visions as being leaders of a world (or even French) nuclear resurgence. Ok, why not? Well, the leaders believe they would have to resign! b) carry on spending money on Hinkley C and hope that not only the French Government will bail them out of any further difficulties (mounting up now, with the french and Finnish reactors going pear shaped) but that somehow the British project will come right. But what seems more likely is that the French Government will end up pouring billions into the project, as well as needing to salvage the Finnish and French EPRs still being built. Now choice a) involves, to them, the certainty of loss of face and resignation. choice b) involves a probability of disaster (and eventual resignation), but the faint hope that they still might win out (and regardless they remain in power for a while longer). Of course the interests of the French state are clearly to avoid losing billions of euros, so rationally, of the two, option a) would be better.
Dave Toke’s Blog 29th Jan 2016 read more »
In case you hadn’t heard, EDF, the French energy company with that suspiciously-shaped orange blob of a mascot, is fighting valiantly against the odds to build a nuclear power plant hardly anybody seems to want. The French utility says everyone has the wrong idea about the Hinkley, the crisis-stricken nuclear plant to be built in Somerset with help from the Chinese state. EDF, you see, has values. And it wrote them all the down in a presentation handed out to attendees of an all-party parliamentary group this January.
Energy Desk 29th Jan 2016 read more »
French utility EDF told contractors to begin work on the Hinkley Point C project despite not finalizing financing. EDF reportedly told contractors to start “unconstrained” spending on the project, meaning to move forward as if a final decision had been made, according to The Guardian. Work on the project was halted in April. EDF was set to make a final financing decision Wednesday but pushed it back. China’s state nuclear firm CGN owns a 33.5 percent stake in the project, and EDF has said it wants to bring in other investors to bring its remaining share of Hinkley Point C down from 66.5 percent to 50 percent.
Power Engineering 29th Jan 2016 read more »
City AM 29th Jan 2016 read more »
Penn Energy 29th Jan 2016 read more »
Almost half the steel for Britain’s new £18 billion nuclear power station will be imported from overseas – when it could be forged here in the UK. Hapless Tory ministers are allowing French energy giant EDF to import 40 per cent of the parts for the massive Hinkley Point project. EDF claims the forged steel components cannot be produced in Britain. But furious bosses at steel giant Sheffield Forgemasters have told the Mirror, which is campaigning to Save Our Steel, they could produce the vast majority of the parts at their plant in South Yorkshire.
Mirror 29th Jan 2016 read more »
Sheffield Forgemasters says that it could make most of the key parts for Britain’s new nuclear power station, even though the cash-strapped company has been cut out of the supply chain by the French builder of Hinkley Point C. The claim comes as the business minister overseeing the steel industry was accused of misleading MPs over why Forgemasters has not been commissioned to produce components for the first new nuclear station in 20 years. Anna Soubry, the industry minister, has repeatedly supported the decision by EDF, the French energy group, not to use specialist producers based in Britain for the complex, high-value work at Hinkley Point and to use French and Japanese suppliers instead. Challenged as to why she had not intervened on behalf of British steel producers, Ms Soubry told MPs on the business select committee that only very few companies in the world could make the largest nuclear casings and components. In a letter to Iain Wright, chairman of the committee, the minister said: “It is widely understood and accepted in the nuclear and steel industries that the UK does not have this capacity.” The chief executive of Sheffield Forgemasters, which casts steel for Britain’s nuclear submarine fleet, told The Times that this was wrong and that his company was capable of producing four fifths of Hinkley Point’s components.
Times 30th Jan 2016 read more »
Energy giant EDF has leased offices to provide a base for a large part of the project team working on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. The announcement came amid recent speculation of a delay in the so-called final investment decision for the £18 billion project. The French company has said a decision will be made “soon”, with mid-February now a possible date.
Western Daily Press 29th Jan 2016 read more »
When it opens, Hinkley Point C will be the first new nuclear power station in the UK for a generation; the last, Sizewell B, became operational in 1995. For structural engineers like Steven Betts, 29, who joined Atkins in 2010, projects like this represent the chance of a lifetime to work on something of significance, which demands world-class capabilities and technical knowhow.
Telegraph 29th Jan 2016 read more »