Hinkley

EDF is bracing for a multi-billion euro rise in costs at its Hinkley Point C nuclear site after a fresh evaluation of the project revealed yet another likely delay. An internal review of the troubled project by senior executives at EDF’s French headquarters is expected to confirm fears that the state-backed energy giant will not be able to deliver Hinkley on time or in line with its £18bn budget. The French newspaper Le Monde reported over the weekend that sources close to the review have said no one believes it can be delivered by 2025. Instead, the start-up date is likely to be 2027 and pile a further £870m on to the construction costs of the £18bn project. The review is being led by Jean-Michel Quilichini, the group’s audit director, and is expected to be made public later this summer. The latest delay is likely to fuel concerns that Government has locked energy bill payers into “a high cost and risky deal” that could fail to deliver on its economic promises.

Telegraph 25th June 2017 read more »

EDF’s Hinkley C nuclear power plant will experience a budget overrun of between one billion and 3 billion euros as its construction could be delayed by two years, French newspaper Le Monde said on Saturday, citing sources close to the matter. Le Monde said that the first conclusions of an internal review of the project showed that construction initially slated for end-2025 was not likely to start before 2027.

New York Times 24th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 26 June 2017

Flamanville

A long-awaited report on the safety of the nuclear reactor EDF is building in Flamanville, north-western France, declares the reactor vessel fit for purpose, two sources with direct knowledge of the report told Reuters on Friday. A negative report from the IRSN, the technical arm of French nuclear regulator ASN, would have been a major setback for EDF, costing billions of euros and years of delays as the reactor vessel has been welded in place and the reactor dome was sealed in 2013. Its safety was under scrutiny because of excessive carbon concentrations – which can make steel brittle – in its base and cover. But the report, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, says the reactor will be able to operate safely, although it will need extra monitoring over its lifetime. A favourable ruling by the nuclear safety authority is also a European Commission condition for its approval of EDF’s takeover of state-owned Areva’s reactor unit, which has designed the Flamanville European Pressurised Reactor (EPR). EDF also plans to build two EPRs in Hinkley Point, Britain “The (ASN and IRSN) consider that the anomaly does not put into question the fitness for service of the reactor vessel base, on condition that tests scheduled by EDF are adapted so as to detect any faults,” the report said in its conclusion.

Reuters 24th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 26 June 2017

Hinkley

EDF’s Hinkley C nuclear power plant will experience a budget overrun of between one billion and 3 billion euros as its construction could be delayed by two years, French newspaper Le Monde said on Saturday, citing sources close to the matter. Le Monde said that the first conclusions of an internal review of the project showed that construction initially slated for end-2025 was not likely to start before 2027. “The first conclusions…show there will be a financial overrun tied to calendar delays,” several sources close to the matter said.

Reuters 24th June 2017 read more »

A Westcountry nuclear plant – Britain’s first reactor for 20 years – has been slammed as costly and a risk, a new report says. The Government’s deal for a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, on the Somerset close, has locked consumers into a “risky and expensive project” with uncertain benefits, the National Audit Office (NAO) warned.

Devon Live 23rd June 2017 read more »

Theresa May came close to ditching Hinkley last summer, before apparently concluding that a bad deal is, in this case, better than no deal. It’s true that Britain has an energy gap but it’s also increasingly clear that Hinkley is not the answer. What would a better electricity deal look like? First, we need to be much more nimble: mammoth infrastructure projects like Hinkley look out of date before construction has even started. By basing the deal on pessimistic energy price forecasts back in 2012, the Government committed to paying EDF more than double the market price for electricity at a time when prices are falling. We should use home-grown solutions. British engineering companies are developing small nuclear reactors, based on existing technology, capable of being built off-site and installed much more quickly and cheaply than a giant reactor like Hinkley. Instead of paying hefty subsidies to EDF, why aren’t we promoting these British engineering skills, with the potential not just to supply the UK but to export their products?Finally, the Government must continue to make the case for fracking in the UK. Shale gas has driven down US energy prices, providing so much fuel that the gas is being liquefied and sold across the world. Because gas is the fossil fuel with the lowest emissions, it can provide us with cheap and reliable fuel at the lowest environmental cost – long before Hinkley Point raises its ugly and expensive head across the Somerset landscape.

Telegraph 23rd June 2017 read more »

Lucas: “Consumers and taxpayers are going to be ripped off by this absurd project” Caroline Lucas, the co-leader of the Green Party, has responded to a report by the National Audit Office on Hinkley Power Station. The report says that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s deal for Hinkley Point C has locked consumers into a ‘risky and expensive project’ with uncertain strategic and economic benefits. The multibillion pound project at Hinkley is currently supported by both Labour and the Coservatives, but opposition to the plans is expected to grow as the costs soar. Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, said: “The National Audit Office’s damning report confirms what many of us have been saying for a long time: the Hinkley deal is overpriced and risky. Not only are consumers and taxpayers going to be ripped off by this absurd project but it will also divert resources away from building the clean energy infrastructure we need, and threaten our climate change targets because of the snail’s pace at which it will be built. “The fight against Hinkley isn’t over – and we will be joining campaigners in continuing to highlight the major shortcomings of this project. This is a crossroads for Britain – and the signing of this deal has seen us swerve down the wrong path. By reversing this decision we can put the resources needed into building a decentralized energy system where Britain puts to use its most abundant resources: the sun, sea and wind.”

Green Party 23rd June 2017 read more »

MORE than 260 people crowded into the Hinkley C recruitment event in Minehead with job-seekers queuing up to find out more. The event was held to highlight potential opportunities from the Hinkley Point C new nuclear power station. West Somerset Council employment and skills staff are working together to ensure local communities are in a good position to benefit from jobs arising from Hinkley Point C and said the Minehead event proved ‘a huge success’. Representatives from Hinkley Point C Jobs Service, G4S Security and Facilities Team, Somerset Larder, Jobcentre Plus and Somerset Passenger Solutions (SPS) were present and were inundated with enquiries.

This is the West Country 23rd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 25 June 2017

Hinkley

The government’s deal for a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point has locked consumers into a “risky and expensive project” with uncertain benefits, the National Audit Office (NAO) warned. Roy Pumfrey, a spokesman for the Stop Hinkley campaign group, said: “This is a pretty devastating critique of the deal struck between the government and EDF Energy on Hinkley Point C.”

Somerset Live 23rd June 2017 read more »

Hinkley Point ‘will cost public double the amount it should’.

The Week 23rd June 2017 read more »

The Sun 23rd June 2017 read more »

Hinkley Point: Britain’s nuclear white elephant trumpets again. If the NAO is even half right, then the project will go down in history as one of the more grotesque examples of ministerial folly. A great, fat white elephant on the Somerset coast whose trumpeting will be felt in the electricity bills of consumers from nearby Glastonbury to distant Glasgow.

Independent 23rd June 2017 read more »

They haven’t gone away. The great spending dinosaurs of the political dark ages, back before June 2017, are still roaming the jungle. Theresa May’s first decision as prime minister, to approve the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear power station, is still crashing about Whitehall. Now the national audit office (NAO) has added its voice to those calling it a really bad deal. The project now has no independent supporters. Hinkley was a hangover from when Whitehall’s energy department took leave of its senses and approved anything that looked remotely “green”. It just passed the bill to the Treasury. The Treasury then passed the risk to Chinese investors and French contractors. The risk proved so great that these backers swiftly passed it back to the Treasury and future British taxpayers and energy users, in loan guarantees and sky-high prices. May should have cancelled Hinkley on day one. There are already cheaper and less risky nuclear alternatives on the horizon. She lacked the nerve. Now her ramshackle coalition needs to take tough decisions on spending if it is to honour its promise to ease austerity. It must help the police, prisons, housing, schools and mental health services, among others. Nothing would signal more clearly a change of heart than for her to clear the ground of the vanities and extravagances of the David Cameron years. May should wriggle out of Hinkley. Whatever the cancellation costs, it will be cheaper in the long run.

Guardian 23rd June 2017 read more »

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) responds to today’s National Audit Office’s damning report on the UK Government’s deal with EDF to build a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C with little surprise, as it has been consistently saying the deal is overly expensive and a bad deal for the taxpayer. The National Audit Office (NAO) has analysed in detail the financing agreement that was made between the UK Government and EDF for Hinkley Point C, which was essential for EDF to go ahead with the deal. The decades-long deal gives EDF a guaranteed rate of return and locks the country into paying electricity prices which are currently double the existing rate for many years to come.

NFLA 23rd June 2017 read more »

PLANS for more nuclear power stations should be dumped after a damning report shows energy from the new Hinkley station will cost almost double the current rate, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) urged yesterday. Hinkley owners, France’s EDF and China General Nuclear Power Group, will receive a guaranteed £92.50 per megawatt/hour for the energy it produces, nearly twice the current energy price of £48.50, the National Audit Office (NAO) report shows. CND general secretary Kate Hudson said the government’s “obsession” with nuclear power “poses a threat to the economy.” Manchester-based Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) said it has warned consistently that Hinkley is “overly expensive and a bad deal for the taxpayer. “The decades-long deal gives EDF a guaranteed rate of return and locks the country into paying electricity prices which are currently double the existing rate for many years to come,” it said. “The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s deal for Hinkley Point C has locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits.” Nuclear industry union GMB said it was “beyond stupid for the UK to rely on foreign governments and companies to keep our lights on.”

Morning Star 24th June 2017 read more »

Ekklesia 24th June 2017 read more »

The Times mentions in passing LeighFisher, a technical consultancy had a potential conflict of interest in its role advising ministers on the Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear power plant deal. But the reason the National Audit Office report concluded “The arrangements the {Business} Department put in place to manage the potential conflict of interest were insufficient” are quite extraordinary, and underpin why such a bad financial decision to go ahead with plant could have happened, and could now cost taxpayers up to an extra £30 billion Inexplicably the Government appointed LeighFisher to advise independently on the prospective costs of HPC, for a taxpayer–funded fee of £1.2 million. NAO states that this “largely involved providing technical services to verify whether EDF’s construction cost estimates [for HPC] were reasonable.” It renewed the original 2012 contract in 2015. Ministers knew all along that LeighFisher was a subsidiary of the Jacobs Engineering Group, that the NAO explains “had provided engineering and project management services, including seconded staff, to EDF in relation to the HPC deal.” This poacher and gamekeeper role should have been obvious to anyone, and, as such huge sums of public (ie taxpayers’) money were involved, should have set alarm bells ringing in ministerial ears.

David Lowry’s Blog 23rd June 2017 read more »

[Machine Translation] EDF’s executives assure it: they will do everything to ensure that the construction of two EPRs at Hinkley Point (HPC) in south-west England is more or less on schedule. Everything to avoid the setbacks – the nightmare, even – of the yards of this third-generation reactor in Flamanville (Manche) and Olkiluoto (Finland), whose initial quotes were multiplied by three to reach 10 billion euros. However, in a political context made very uncertain by the weakening of British Prime Minister Theresa May and the prospects of Brexit, the world’s first nuclear power plant operator, is starting to re-evaluate. They show that it is unlikely to be able to meet its commitment to commissioning by the end of 2025 or the initial estimate of £ 18 billion. That’s 20.5 billion euros, shared between the French group (13.6 billion) and its partner China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN, 6.8 billion). When the final investment decision was reached in September 2016, the board of directors had asked its chairman to make a final decision one year later. Jean-Bernard Lévy entrusted a “project review” to Jean-Michel Quilichini, the group’s audit director. Management is working on the findings of this “review” and will be required to inform the Strategic Committee and the Board of Directors in July, or after the summer. Initial findings, not restated or discussed, indicate that there will be a financial slippage that could be attributed to the drift of the calendar, say several sources close to the file. A slippage of between $ 1 billion and $ 3 billion. No one believes that the end date of 2025 will be held, as the Hinkley Point calendar is even tighter than that of the Chinese TPRs of Taishan (South), under construction by EDF and CGN. HPC will probably not start until 2027. A minimum delay that was pointed out from the start by the project’s opponents, including the unions, unanimously rejected the project as it stood. At the request of Mr. Lévy, the risks of HPC were studied in 2015 by Yannick d’Escatha, former head of the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and the CNES. There are of course the risks of financing a colossal project, the cost of which represents half of the market value of EDF (27 billion). And those inherent in the contract guaranteeing EDF a price of 92.50 pounds per megawatt hour (MWh) over thirty-five years, ensuring a profitability of 9.2%. This price is three times higher than that of the European electricity market, which could prompt a government to renegotiate it.

Le Monde 24th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 24 June 2017

Moorside

Dear President Moon Jai in, Your landslide win last month was due to your promises to phase out atomic energy and embrace safer and more environmentally friendly power sources, including solar and wind. In the same week that you made your announcement to put a halt to dangerous nuclear power in South Korea, your Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) met with Tom Samson, NuGen’s chief executive in an event organised by the trade body the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA). We urge you to resist any sweeteners our government may offer you as incentive to build Moorside and we urge you to resist taking any part in the unethical and dangerous plan for Moorside which would see new nuclear reactors on greenfields next to the already intolerably dangerous stockpiles of plutonium at Sellafield.

Radiation Free Lakeland 23rd June 2017 read more »

The Government needs to be prepared to take a stake in energy projects like Cumbria’s proposed new £10bn nuclear plant, according to a major trade union. Unite has made the call following a report into the funding of the Hinkley Point nuclear new build in Somerset by the National Audit office, which described the Government’s deal for the scheme as “risky and expensive”.

Whitehaven News 23rd June 2017 read more »

Unite 23rd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 24 June 2017

Toshiba

Japan’s Toshiba Corporation has been granted an extension to the deadline for the submission of its audited earnings results for the 2016 financial year, which ended on 31 March. At the same time, the company has slightly revised its annual loss estimate.

World Nuclear News 23rd June 2017 read more »

Ailing electronics giant Toshiba has said its losses for 2016 may be greater than it had previously forecast. It now predicts a net loss of 995bn yen (£7bn) for the year to March, up from its earlier estimate of 950bn yen.

BBC 23rd June 2017 read more »

Toshiba, the key backer of Cumbria’s proposed £10bn nuclear new build, has delayed the reporting of its annual results again. The troubled Japanese giant – which has a 60 per cent stake in NuGen, which has plans for a power plant at Moorside, near Sellafield, and is taking on full ownership – has also announced that its losses for this year are likely to be greater than it has previously forecast. It twice delayed the publication of its nine-month results before publishing unaudited accounts in April.

Whitehaven News 23rd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 24 June 2017

Wylfa

The developer behind Wylfa Newydd says they can “learn lessons” from the critical National Audit Office report into the Government deal for a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) finalised the deal to support the £18 billion Hinkley Point C reactor last September, with energy consumers paying subsidies on their bills for the scheme for 35 years. Now an audit office report into the deal with EDF Energy says the Government has locked consumers into a “risky and expensive project” with uncertain benefits.

Daily Post 23rd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 24 June 2017

Nuclear Futures

How should we manage nuclear energy?.

BBC 23rd June 2017 read more »

Letter Ian Fells: Enthusiasm for piping hydrogen around the country for heating shows a determination to meet carbon dioxide reduction targets, but there are pitfalls. As has been pointed out, hydrogen is explosive stuff and is mostly manufactured from natural gas (methane), which gives rise to more carbon dioxide, which then has to be sequestrated. A better, cheaper way to carbon dioxide-free heat is to move to a new family of inherently safe, versatile nuclear power stations and use the electricity generated to power heat pumps for domestic and industrial use, supplanting gas and oil. We will also need a big boost in electricity supply to charge all the electric cars soon to dominate the transport scene. Unlike many renewables, nuclear power operates 24/7, not just when the wind blows or the sun shines, and small, very expensive domestic batteries are not going to save the day.

Times 24th June 2017 read more »

SIXTY years ago today, on October 17, 1956, the Queen officially opened Calder Hall, Britain’s first nuclear power station, near Sellafield in Cumbria.

Express 23rd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 24 June 2017

Hinkley

Spending watchdog condemns ‘risky and expensive’ Hinkley Point Damning report says nuclear project is bad for UK consumers and governments failed to assess alternative finance models. Generations of British consumers have been locked into a “risky and expensive” project by the UK’s subsidy deal for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, according to a damning report by the spending watchdog. The National Audit Office said the contract sealed by ministers last September with EDF to construct the country’s first new atomic reactors in two decades would provide “uncertain strategic and economic benefits”. Further, Brexit and Theresa May’s decision to quit an EU nuclear treaty could make the situation even worse, by triggering taxpayer compensation for EDF or a more generous deal for the French state-controlled company. The watchdog condemned the past two governments for failing to look at alternative ways of financing the power station, such as taking a stake in the construction. Observers labelled the report “deeply worrying”, a “strong reprimand” and a vindication of Hinkley Point C’s critics, who had argued it was too costly and advocated alternatives such as wind and solar power.

Guardian 23rd June 2017 read more »

The National Audit Office does not use excitable phrases like “utter shambles.” But the spending watchdog’s verdict on Hinkley Point C, the nuclear power plant in Somerset that is supposedly inevitable, amounts to the same thing. The government “has locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits”. The 80-page report confirms one’s worst fears about how ministers fell in love with Hinkley. First, they wedded themselves to an inflexible financial model. Then they agreed commercial terms with developer EDF in 2013, when energy prices were sky-high, and ploughed on regardless when the economic case for Hinkley started to crumble. When the deal was finally signed by Theresa May’s administration last September, the energy landscape had been transformed. The economic case for Hinkley was “marginal”, says the NAO, and “less favourable, but reasonable, assumptions” about energy prices and renewables would have meant the deal was not value for money even on the business department’s own model. The document tells a depressing tale of inadequate scrutiny and successive governments ignoring the energy revolution taking place beyond their spreadsheets. “Time will tell whether the deal represents value for money,” says the NAO generously, before adding the killer clause: “But we cannot say the department has maximised the chances that it will be.” The rest of us call that a politician’s vanity project.

Guardian 23rd June 2017 read more »

The government finalised the deal for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station last year even though its own value for money tests showed the economic case for the new nulcear plant was ‘marginal and subject to significant uncertainty’, parliament’s spending watchdog has concluded. The National Audit Office’s (NAO’s) critical new report on the project, the second it has produced, accuses the department for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) of concluding a deal that has “locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits.” It says that “less favourable, but reasonable, assumptions” about future fossil fuel prices, renewables costs and follow on nuclear projects would have meant the deal would not have met the department’s value for money tests.

Utility Week 22nd June 2017 read more »

The UK’s public spending watchdog has reignited concerns that EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C new nuclear project is a high stakes political gamble which may not pay off. A fresh report from the National Audit Office has found that energy bill payers could be locked into paying a higher than expected price for the uncertain promise of economic benefits. James Court, head of policy at the Renewable Energy Association, said the Government has been “ignoring the most cost-effective of all forms of electricity generation available right now – renewables”. “Solar and onshore wind are now cheaper than new gas and can be built quickly. New energy storage and flexibility technologies are rapidly developing and can be relied on to manage variability,” Mr Court added.

Telegraph 23rd June 2017 read more »

Hinkley deal ‘expensive and risky’. NIA chief executive Tom Greatrex added: “The NAO analysis of the strike price also highlights that using a different financing structure could have resulted in a lower strike price. “That is something government should reflect on as other new nuclear projects advance.”

BBC 23rd June 2017 read more »

Sky 23rd June 2017 read more »

ITV 23rd June 2017 read more »

Britain’s deal with EDF to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant is risky and could lead to requests for more cash and electricity payment top-ups worth 30 billion pounds, a parliamentary watchdog said on Friday.

Reuters 23rd June 2017 read more »

City AM 23rd June 2017 read more »

Times 23rd June 2017 read more »

Daily Mail 23rd June 2017 read more »

Independent 23rd June 2017 read more »

Express 23rd June 2017 read more »

Roy Pumfrey, a spokesman for the Stop Hinkley campaign group, said: “This is a pretty devastating critique of the deal struck between the Government and EDF Energy on Hinkley Point C.”

Dundee Courier 23rd June 2017 read more »

Politics Home 23rd June 2017 read more »

NAO said the government should have at least considered sharing the construction risk at Hinkley to lower the cost for consumers. This conclusion will add to debate in Whitehall over whether the government should contribute to financing other planned nuclear plants, including one planned by Hitachi of Japan at Wylfa in Anglesey. Talks have been held between the UK and Japanese governments about making Wylfa a public-private partnership, according to people briefed on the matter. This would reduce costs for consumers compared with Hinkley but expose taxpayers to more risk.

FT 23rd June 2017 read more »

National Audit Office Report.

NAO 23rd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 23 June 2017

Sizewell

The National Audit Office’s (NAO) comments on the Hinkley Point C (HPC) plant casts fresh concern over plans for Sizewell C, and is set to put ministers under huge pressure to provide better value-for-money if the Suffolk plant is to go ahead. China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and EDF Energy are already working together to develop the £14billion Sizewell C station, in which CGN has a 20% stake, and the £18bn HPC plant in Somerset, in which the company has a 33.5% share.

Ipswich Star 23rd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 23 June 2017