Vital energy projects including the £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant and interconnectors used to import cheap electricity from Europe are under threat due to Brexit, energy experts have warned. They said the projects, which are key to efforts to keep the UK’s lights on, could be at risk if the energy sector is denied entry to Europe’s internal energy market. That looks increasingly likely, after the European parliament passed a resolution on Wednesday opposing “piecemeal or sectoral provisions” for individual UK industries. Speaking at an event organised by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, experts said plans by French power firm EDF to build two new reactors at Hinkley Point C could be affected. Antony Froggatt, senior research fellow at Chatham House, said EDF was already concerned that Brexit will make it harder to import skilled EU nationals to build Hinkley, which is slated to provide 7% of UK electricity. “I was at a conference recently where EDF were saying their main concern about skills was specialised steel fitters for the construction of Hinkley,” he said. “They said there were not enough in the country to build Hinkley and therefore this is the main area that they’re concerned about.” He added that the staff shortage could be exacerbated by the building of the HS2 high-speed rail link, which will be competing with Hinkley to attract steel fitters.
Guardian 5th April 2017 read more »
A recent report on Brexit from the Tweede Kamer, one of the Chambers of the Dutch Parliament, noted the risk that, whatever the outcome, arrangements for cooperation in this crucial area might not be in place on the day the UK left the EU. The report recommended keeping the Euratom process separate from the Article 50 process so that “the negotiations on this can be conducted with care, rather than under time pressure.” The UK Government has said that future cooperation on nuclear energy matters will be a matter for the negotiations, and that: it is an important priority for us–the nuclear industry remains of key strategic importance to the UK and leaving Euratom does not affect our clear aim of seeking to maintain close and effective arrangements for civil nuclear cooperation, safeguards, safety and trade with Europe and our international partners.
Parliament 4th April 2017 read more »