EDF could scrap its plan to build the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear plant in the UK if the company fails to receive further funding from the French government, its chief executive has revealed. Jean-Bernard Lévy wrote to staff explaining that he was in talks to “obtain commitments from the state to help secure our financial position” as “the financial situation is tense”. He added that he would “not engage in the [Hinkley Point] project before these conditions are met”. The French government, which holds an 85pc stake in EDF, could purchase a stake in the Hinkley Point project or take part in a company fundraising, according to the Financial Times, which first reported news of the letter.
Telegraph 11th March 2016 read more »
EDF will not go ahead with the contentious £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear project in the UK unless it wins further financial support from the French government, according to a leaked letter by the utility’s chief executive. Two people close to EDF said the French state could take a stake in the Hinkley Point C project, or possibly participate in a capital raising by the company, although they said that nothing had been finalised. The government has an 85 per cent stake in EDF.
FT 11th March 2016 read more »
The boss of the French state-owned company behind the UK’s first new nuclear power station for 20 years has threatened to pull the plug on the £18bn project without further backing from François Hollande’s government. Its difficulties have put enormous pressure on the British government, which has already promised generous financial subsidies for Hinkley, to be paid for by taxpayers. The subsidy agreements have drawn scorn from investment bankers in the City. One analyst earlier this week described the Hinkley project as “insane” because of the problems EDF and Areva had experienced at similar schemes at Flamanville in Normandy and Olkiluoto in Finland.
Guardian 11th March 2016 read more »
EDF’s chairman says he is “confident” that the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will go ahead. Jean-Bernard Levy, chairman and chief executive of EDF Group, wrote to staff on Friday saying that although the financial context was “challenging”, the project had the support of both the French and British governments. He said negotiations with the French government to secure the company’s financial position were continuing and insisted EDF would not be involved until his conditions were met.
Western Daily Press 12th March 2016 read more »
Plymouth Herald 12th March 2016 read more »
ITV 12th March 2016 read more »
Sky 12th March 2016 read more »
Press & Journal 12th March 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 12th March 2016 read more »
Angus McNeil, chair of the energy and climate change committee, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was a “very expensive deal” which had suffered “major delays”. He said it was plausible the government could ultimately pull out of the deal, or carry on with caveats. He said his committee’s scrutiny of the project would “go where the evidence takes us”.
BBC 12th March 2016 read more »
EDF chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy said in a letter to staff the utility will not go ahead with its plan to build two nuclear reactors in Britain unless it gets more financial support from the French state. In a letter to EDF staff seen by Reuters, Levy said EDF is negotiating with the government in order to obtain commitments that will allow it to secure its financial situation before it commits to building reactors at Hinkley Point in Britain.
Reuters 11th March 2016 read more »
A leading industrialist has attacked the deal to build an £18 billion nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset as outrageously expensive and warned that it will kill British manufacturing. Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of Ineos, a chemicals company that is one of the UK’s biggest electricity users, said that a subsidy deal agreed by ministers in 2013 to pay EDF treble the present wholesale price of electricity for 35 years will damage UK industry and investment. “It’s just outrageously expensive,” he told The Times. “There is no way we are going to invest in the UK at £92.50 per megawatt hour… You finish up with the slow death of manufacturing.” British wholesale power prices are about £33/MWh — a third of the guaranteed Hinkley price, which will be subsidised by consumers. UK prices are far higher than in rival manufacturing nations such as Germany where they are about £25/MWh. Last night it emerged that Jean-Bernard Levy, chief executive of EDF, has threatened to pull the plug on the Hinkley project unless the company secures further financial support from the French government, which owns 85 per cent of EDF. In a letter to employees, he said that he was negotiating to “obtain commitments from the state to help secure our financial position”.
Times 12th March 2016 read more »
A marble monument stands on the cliffs of Normandy to honour a great French hero: Marcel Paul, the communist industry minister who, in 1945, created the state electricity giant that turned France into a nuclear powerhouse and that David Cameron hopes will now light up Britain. Yet the country that Paul’s engraved image is gazing out at across the Channel could, some critics believe, bring about the end of his atomic legacy. “I’ve been campaigning for 40 years and I’ve never seen the French nuclear industry in such difficulty,” Yannick Rousselet, head of nuclear issues at Greenpeace France, said. “The French were always told that nuclear power is cheap,” Mr Rousselet said. “Now they are realising that it is expensive and Hinkley Point is the symbol that has helped to illustrate this.”
Times 12th March 2016 read more »
It is hard to imagine that EDF, a company that has built 58 reactors in France and is a national champion, could be brought to its knees by a single project in Somerset, south-west England. The 70-year-old former monopoly is almost a wing of the French state, employing 110,000 people in France alone. It provides more than two-thirds of the country’s electricity, and is one of the UK’s biggest power generators. But Mr Piquemal was simply adding his voice to a growing number who believe there is a risk of failure for the company. Several unions with board seats sounded the alarm this year, saying the project puts EDF “in grave danger”. Like the rest of the European utility sector, EDF has been under pressure on a number of fronts, from climate change policies and the rise of renewable energy to overcapacity. The fall in wholesale electricity prices, which have followed the sharp declines in the price of oil price, has also hurt. Electricity prices in France are down 30 per cent over the past 12 months. Worries persist, even within the highest ranks of the company. One senior figure calls Mr Piquemal the “Cassandra of EDF”. “He is talking sense,” the senior figure says. “But he is not really being heard.”
FT 11th March 2016 read more »
Catherine Mitchell: Hinkley Point Plan B – five key points; The global energy system has significantly changed since the decision in 2010 to support nuclear power – this change underpins arguments that global momentum is moving to a higher proportion of decentralised energy – whether electricity, heat or transport; The understanding of the operational needs of energy systems with high proportions of variable power is far greater, and it is clearly not the case that GB ‘needs’ nuclear power in order to meet its decarbonisation targets or to maintain its security; HPC is very expensive, and further nuclear power plants can expect similar concerns and difficulties as experienced by HPC. Public money would be far better spent in energy policy areas which lead to an energy system based on renewables and ‘reduce (ie minimum energy use), flatten (ie maximise demand response capabilities so that total infrastructure and market costs are minimised) and flex (ie where the focus is on delivering resources which are flexible so that variable power can be matched and demand side response can be called upon); Improving the energy efficiency of our GB energy system is the key priority; A governance system to match the new system characteristics is necessary: a BAU governance system is an ‘old’ solution to the ‘new’ characteristics of variability and flexibility.It is time for the GB government (and their civil servants) to understand ‘smart’ energy system operation (and economics). What was not technologically possible or economic a few years ago, is now routine, and is, for example, the basis of the NY REV value settlement. New nuclear power is simply not necessary for GB to decarbonise and meet its targets. Many other countries, and most European countries within the Europe that GB’s energy system is physically part of, are not considering new nuclear as part of their future. Those that are, are doing so because of their historic relationships with Russia, and their current non-diverse energy sources.
IGov 11th March 2016 read more »
A third nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset will only be built if the French energy firm EDF can overcome problems at its sister plant at Flamanville. That was the claim yesterday by senior energy experts, disputed by EDF, which again raised serious questions over whether the Hinkley C project would ever be built. For months, state-owned French energy firm EDF has struggled to get enough financial backing to be able to make its Final Investment Decision, despite a third of the money being pledged by two Chinese nuclear power companies last autumn in a deal between Britain and China. But The Times reported that Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) had still to give consent to the final approval to the project, amid ‘increasing worries’ about the reactor’s steel dome. The regulator is understood to be concerned that the design of reactor for Hinkley C is still not active and generating power anywhere else in the world, and in fact the two other versions of its design have hit problems.
Western Daily Press 11th March 2016 read more »
EDF’s £18bn project to build nuclear reactors in Britain is potentially risky for the state-owned utility, whose foreign investments in recent years have proved disappointing, France’s top public auditor has said. In a report on EDF’s international strategy, the Cour des Comptes – the French equivalent of the UK’s National Audit Office – said EDF and its 85% state shareholding should take a close look at the risks associated with the project to build two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
Guardian 11th March 2016 read more »
Nuclear power is unsafe and too expensive to justify building new plants anywhere in the world, according to the Japanese prime minister at the time of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Speaking on the fifth anniversary of the disaster, Naoto Kan said he was against the idea of Japanese manufacturers such as Hitachi and Toshiba building plants in the UK.
Guardian 11th March 2016 read more »
Confident that Horizon will be able to adhere to the previously stated timeline for construction at Wylfa, Alan Raymant, Chief Operating Officer, has openly expressed his views to the Welsh Affairs committee, pushing some of the key doubts associated with EDF’s Somerset project aside and clarifying his confidence.
Building Design & Construction 11th March 2016 read more »
As the world marks the fifth anniversary of the Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, there are uncomfortable questions about how the US stores radioactive material, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. After more than 30 years and at least US$11 billion of spending, Yucca Mountain remains an abandoned hole in the ground, another tombstone to the unsolved, and potentially unsolvable, problem of radioactive waste. In 2010 the Obama administration moved to abandon the Yucca Mountain dump, officially canceling it in April 2011. Had it gone forward, the projected cost would have been at least US$96 billion. Consequently, almost all of the high-level radioactive waste produced in the US by commercial nuclear power plants remains stored on site, even at those plants that no longer operate. The reactor buildings themselves may be gone, but the waste casks remain, providing an open invitation to sabotage or attack and vulnerable to leakage, accident or natural disaster.
China Dialogue 11th March 2016 read more »
Five years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster began to unfold in Japan, the searing psychological effects are still being felt among the close to 160,000 refugees who fled the radioactive fallout. But now there is growing pressure to return to still contaminated areas declared ‘safe’ in efforts to whitewash the disaster’s impacts. Why the rush? To clear the way for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, complete with events in Fukushima City.
Ecologist 11th March 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) commemorates today the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster– one of the worst of its kind in the history of nuclear power. NFLA send its deepest sympathies to all those who died as a result of the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th2011, and those who have died in ‘nuclear disaster related deaths’ as a result of the huge damage to four nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Over 100,000 people evacuated as a result of the radiation release from Fukushima are still not allowed to return to their homes, and environmental damage to the area requires a large exclusion zone to be maintained for years to come.
NFLA 11th March 2016 read more »
On this day, five years ago when a tsunami, triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan. 15,894 people died and 2,561 still remain unaccounted for – a tragedy that we commemorate and will continue to mourn. Sadly, the disaster didn’t end there. More than 146,000 people living in nearby towns were forced to evacuate due to the nuclear disaster, of which 100,000 remain and have been unable to return. We know that levels of nuclear radiation are still high in some of the areas– figures that the Japanese government have not been telling us – and this is why we’re here. For the people, for the country, and to remind the world that a nuclear disaster is on-going and never-ending.
Greenpeace 11th March 2016 read more »
About 300 people gathered in the Diet Offices to commemorate the Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and Tepco’s meltdowns. Hosted by Friends of the Earth Japan and a large network of NGOs in Japan working on every nuclear concern, including continued aid and support to Chernobyl victims, this was a national-scale event. At 2:46 we paused to silently mark the time of the quake. A number of people I have met previously on this tour are here. It feels good to have new friends here. What follows is a piece I wrote in anticipation for this day. I know it is long. I hope some will read it through. It is Mary’s Manifesto on radiation, but I feel with some certainty that Rosalie Bertell would support it!
Green World 11th March 2016 read more »
Japan’s emperor and prime minister have led tributes to the 19,000 people who died five years ago when a powerful earthquake and tsunami struck the country’s north-east coast and triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Guardian 12th March 2016 read more »
Scotsman 11th March 2016 read more »
Five years on, the nation continues to struggle with the effects. A 10km radius of the plant remains a dead-zone: desolate and uninhabited. As many as 100,000 people still remain displaced, unable to return to their homes. Workers at the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) still don claustrophobic masks and rubber suits to venture into the Fukushima facility. Their job is to decommission the plant safely, a task that plant manager Akira Ono recently said was “about 10% complete”. Fukushima is now the biggest civil liability case in history. More than two million people have sued TEPCO and US$50 billion has already been paid out. This is already equivalent to 400 Exxon Valdez oil spill settlements, and experts predict the total cost of compensation could rise to US$120 billion. One notable subplot has been compensation for cases of suicide. A court’s landmark decision that TEPCO pay US$470,000 to the heirs of a 58-year-old farmer’s wife named Hamako Watanabe could prove much more costly. Officially the buck for everything stops with TEPCO. Under Japanese nuclear-liability law, the nuclear operator is always responsible for the full cost of an accident, even if it cannot be proven to be negligent. In practice, the Japanese taxpayer is bearing the burden. TEPCO’s liability may be unlimited, but its assets are not. Despite the country’s earthquake history, TEPCO’s insurance policy incredibly did not cover earthquakes or tsunamis. And in accordance with regulations introduced in 2009, TEPCO was insured for up to only US$1.1 billion anyway: about a fiftieth of the damages paid out so far. The government has been forced to prevent TEPCO’s bankruptcy. One has to ask whether the concept of unlimited liability has any real meaning when the operator’s capacity to pay is so limited. It also raises questions for other parts of the world. In the UK, for example, nuclear liability is capped at a mere US$220m, less than two hundreth of what TEPCO has already paid in compensation claims. Japan is evidently not be the only country that should be taking lessons from Fukushima.
The Conversation 11th March 2016 read more »
Paul Rogers: The chances for a treaty banning nuclear weapons worldwide may seem remote. But there are positive trends.
Open Democracy 11th March 2016 read more »
Northern Powergrid has helped identify the positive social impact of undertaking community energy projects in order for more projects to succeed. An independent report has taken an in-depth look at eight projects supported by Northern Powergrid through its Community Energy Seed Fund to explore the environmental and social benefits of community projects. The network company said identifying benefits above financial savings and local investment can “only be beneficial in helping more projects succeed and deliver further social benefits for local people and communities”. It added that the report shows community energy “is more than just energy – it’s an outreach activity that develops, strengthens, and educates a local community”.
Utility Week 10th March 2016 read more »