The French energy minister, Ségolène Royal, has said that a postponement of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project was still under discussion. In a French television interview on Thursday, she was asked whether Hinkley Point would be postponed. “It’s still under discussion,” Royal replied. “There’s an agreement between France and Britain, so things should go ahead. But the trade unions are right to ask for the stakes to be re-examined.” Asked if she was in favour of a postponement, Royal ducked the question and said she would not make rash comments. However, the minister added that while she did not want to “decisively throw the project into question just like that”, there should be “further proof” that the £18bn venture was “well-founded” and would not affect investment in renewable energy.
Guardian 8th April 2016 read more »
Hinkley Point C could still be postponed, French energy minister Ségolène Royal has said, in an apparent sign of division within the French government over the controversial nuclear project. The £18bn power plant is yet to prove its worth, and developer EDF must provide assurances that it will not build the reactors at the expense of investing in renewable energy, Ms Royal said. Emmanuel Macron, the French economy minister, said last month that he expected a much-delayed final investment decision on the project to be taken by “early May”. When Ms Royal was asked whether the project had been postponed, she responded “that’s still up for discussion”, according to comments reported by Le Monde. “This project must provide further proof on the one hand of its worth, and on the other must provide assurances that the investments in the project won’t redirect or dry up investments that must be made in renewable energy,” she said. She added that she was not “casting into question the project just like that, in an off-hand way” but added: “the unions are right to ask for the stakes to be drawn up again from scratch”.
Telegraph 7th April 2016 read more »
Segolene Royal, the former partner of Francois Hollande, said the future of the £18bn project was still under discussion. She warned of the financial implications of the deal for state-backed French energy giant EDF, which is taking on the lion’s share of the costs for building the proposed site in Somerset. “This project must offer further proof that it is well-founded and offer a guarantee that the investment in this project will not dry up,” Ms Royal told a French radio station.Labour seized on Ms Royal’s intervention, with shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy saying the Government needed to rethink its plans. “The intervention of Ségolène Royal is extremely significant because until now David Cameron and others have insisted that Hinkley Point has complete French political backing,” she said. “The prospect of further delays blows a hole in the UK’s energy strategy and means ministers have to develop a plan B.”
Politics Home 8th April 2016 read more »
French plans to build an £18 billion nuclear plant in Britain have been thrown into doubt after one of France’s most senior ministers raised concerns over costs and suggested that it should be delayed. Segolene Royal, the energy minister and former partner of President Hollande, exposed a cabinet split when she signalled that a final decision on the Hinkley Point project in Somerset – expected to provide 7 per cent of Britain’s electricity – should be postponed. Ms Royal said that the issue was still under discussion, suggesting that the French government may order the directors of EDF, the French electricity company behind the project, to halt it. Final approval for Hinkley Point had been expected at an EDF board meeting next month despite several delays. Ms Royal warned of the financial risks to EDF, which has debts of Â£30 billion and is set to shoulder two thirds of the cost of Hinkley. She warned that the project may starve the company, which is 86 per cent owned by the French state, of cash to invest in other energy projects. “This project must offer further proof that it is well-founded and offer a guarantee that the investment in this project will not dry up investments that must be made in renewable energies,” she told a French radio station.
Times 8th April 2016 read more »
Repeated delays, doubtful technology and rising costs have united supporters and opponents of nuclear energy in criticism of Hinkley Point, writes Isabel Hilton. Doubts are growing about the future of the UK’s biggest nuclear power project, an EPR reactor at Hinkley Point in western England, which is partly funded by the Chinese company China General Nuclear (CGN). The £18 billion (145 billion yuan) reactor, to be built by Electricite de France (EDF), has suffered from repeated delays and escalating costs, and is still not finally approved by the EDF board.
China Dialogue 7th April 2016 read more »
Andrew Simms: Once hyped as providing electricity that would be too cheap to meter, the next, increasingly troubled nuclear power installation proposed for Britain, Hinkley Point C, stands at more than £24bn to be the most expensive building on Earth. Given the current economic climate with its emphasis on austerity, and the range of other energy options on offer, why is the government so keen to give the nuclear industry a second life? The then energy secretary, Ed Davey, speaking in late 2013 when the government agreed the deal with French energy company, EDF, said that investing in new nuclear capacity was needed because without it, “we’re going to see the lights going out.” It’s easy to see the superficial political attraction of projects like Hinkley C – they look like big, simple solutions to a problem. They’re technologically shiny, highly visible, seemingly easy to keep an eye on and have large, influential lobbies behind them. Discounting the untold extra billions, typically hidden and underwritten by the public, required by nuclear reactors to pay for complex security, disposal of radioactive waste, insurance (and, perversely, liabilities from under-insurance), over the course of its initial 35-year contract period, Britain could save at least £30-£40bn on electricity generated by solar and onshore wind with their costs steadily falling.
Guardian 7th April 2016 read more »
Engineers working in France’s nuclear power industry have issued an impassioned defence of EDF’s £18bn plan to build two reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Plans for the reactor, slated to provide 7% of Britain’s electricity from 2025, have been dogged by mounting concern over whether 85% state-owned EDF will be able to deliver the project. Delays and overspending at EDF’s French Flamanville plant, which uses the same European Pressurised Reactor technology, have caused deep divisions within EDF and stoked scepticism in the UK. But 100 nuclear engineers in France – which has 58 reactors compared to the UK’s 15 – put their name to a letter in Le Monde newspaper on Thursday, insisting that Hinkley should proceed.
Gurdian 7th April 2016 read more »