Matt Ridley: Let’s kill off this nuclear white elephant. EDF can’t afford to build Hinkley Point and Britain can’t afford to pay for it. There are better options elsewhere. It’s time to pull the plug. EDF cannot afford to build it and we cannot afford to buy its premium-price electricity. At two other sites, in Finland and France, the European pressurised reactor (EPR) design is beset by technical problems, many years behind schedule and several times over budget. The Chinese are building two and have also encountered technical obstacles. Apart from Hinkley, the order book is empty, so ours would probably be the last EPR to be built. There are better options. Only just behind Hinkley in the queue, but proceeding much more smoothly through the regulatory process, are two proven technologies. NuGen (60 per cent owned by Toshiba under their Westinghouse brand and 40 per cent by Engie, the French company formerly called GDF Suez) is planning three AP1000 reactors at Moorside near Sellafield. Horizon, owned by Hitachi, is planning to build up to three advanced boiling water reactors at Wylfa and Oldbury. Rumour has it that they reckon they could cope with a far lower strike price, of about £70.
Times 7th March 2016 read more »
The £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear project was in crisis on Sunday night after reports that the finance director of EDF, the company behind the scheme, had resigned. Thomas Piquemal has stood down from his post after expressing trenchant opposition to those on the EDF board who want to give the green light to the project within weeks, sources said. The resignation of such an important figure on the EDF board will make it much harder for the remaining executives to proceed with Hinkley in the short term. Piquemal is said to have been arguing that pursuing what would be the world’s most expensive power project at this moment could jeopardise the French group, which already has rising debts. Senior industry sources quoted by the agencies said earlier in the weekend that EDF was determined to proceed with the scheme within weeks even though the French government – the majority share owner – had serious doubts about EDF’s finances. EDF admitted recently it was going to have to sell a range of assets to raise cash. Piquemal is believed to be concerned that the chief executive, Jean-Bernard Lévy, wants to proceed with Hinkley before those sales have been completed.
Guardian 7th March 2016 read more »
Telegraph 6th March 2016 read more »
BBC 7th March 2016 read more »
Independent 7th March 2016 read more »
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Mirror 7th March 2016 read more »
Western Daily Press 7th March 2016 read more »
Bridgwater Mercury 7th March 2016 read more »
ITV 7th March 2016 read more »
Mr Piquemal met several times last week with Jean-Bernard Levy, EDF chief executive, saying that the company should wait another three years before making the final investment decision. But Mr Levy disagreed, saying he wanted it to happen as early as next month, and Mr Piquemal tendered his resignation on Thursday, according to two people with knowledge of the conversations. EDF declined to comment.
FT 6th March 2016 read more »
Electricite de France SA’s Chief Financial Officer Thomas Piquemal quit last week after disagreeing with Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy on the timing of a plan to build new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in the U.K., people with knowledge of the matter said. Piquemal resigned after expressing concern that a final investment decision on the project could be announced as early as April, a move he said might jeopardize EDF’s financial situation, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions were private. It wasn’t clear whether the board accepted his offer to step down.
Bloomberg 6th March 2016 read more »
Ouest France 6th March 2016 read more »
Paul Dorfman on Radio 4 Today Programme at 7.22am.
BBC 7th March 2016 read more »
EDF said it appointed its finance head for France, Xavier Girre, 47, as group chief financial officer after former CFO Thomas Piquemal quit the French utility. EDF said the appointment was provisional and with immediate effect. The company did not say why Piquemal resigned. A source familiar with the situation said on Sunday that the CFO had concluded EDF’s 18 billion pound ($25.5 billion) Hinkley Point project to build two Areva-designed European Pressurized Reactors (EPRs) would put too much stress on EDF’s already stretched balance sheet. EDF shares were down 6.3 percent at 0816 GMT.
Reuters 7th March 2016 read more »
Labour has warned lessons must be learned from the Tories’ “mistakes” in their handling of plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. Shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy has called for a nuclear strategy that does not come “at any cost”, insisting it should be “perfectly possible” to find cheaper approaches in the future. She also urged the UK Government to draw up a “plan B” in case Hinkley Point C in Somerset is never built. The Wigan MP has accused ministers of “tying themselves in knots” trying to avoid conceding the policy would require large public subsidies.
Energy Voice 7th March 2016 read more »