Nuclear new build in ‘meltdown’, say experts. Doubts grow over delays, funding shortfalls and ability of nuclear industry to complete planned projects. Nuclear industry experts have warned that the £80bn nuclear new build industry is in “meltdown” as problems beset the clients behind the next generation of planned plants. Despite French energy giant EDF pressing ahead with construction of £18bn Hinkley Point C – the first new UK nuclear plant for almost 30 years – after getting the all-clear from the government last autumn, experts warn the sector still faces major challenges. In recent weeks Toshiba, the backer of the £10bn planned Moorside plant in Cumbria, has delayed its third quarter accounts twice and revealed a £6.3bn (£5.1bn) write-down on its US nuclear division, Westinghouse. Meanwhile EDF has continued to face problems and delays on its Flamanville nuclear plant project in northern France – which uses the same reactor technology earmarked for Hinkley – including an explosion on site last month that injured three people, but posed no nuclear risk. Nuclear lobbyist Tim Yeo, former Tory MP and climate change committee chair, told Building Toshiba’s financial problems had “cast doubt” on the future of the Moorside plant and posed “something of a crisis”. He also queried EDF’s ability to complete Hinkley as planned by 2025, arguing that until Flamanville completes “there has to be a question mark over what the completion date of Hinkley will be”. Meanwhile, Paul Dorfman, senior research fellow at UCL’s Energy Institute and long-time nuclear critic, said he believed the new nuclear programme was in “meltdown”. He also questioned whether EDF – which has debts of (E)37.4bn (£32.4bn) – would deliver at Hinkley: “It might happen, but it’s dependent upon a number of things, primarily EDF’s credit rating.”
Building 24th March 2017 read more »
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Nuclear met this week to discuss the Government’s recently published industrial strategy. Contributions focussed on the importance of place and long-term thinking to the industry. On the panel were BEIS committee chair Iain Wright MP, NuGen’s director of corporate affairs Gary Shuttleworth, chief executive of Nuclear AMRC Mike Tynan and chief executive of the National Nuclear Laboratory Paul Howarth. The meeting was chaired by Sue Hayman MP. Iain Wright started the discussion and praised the key role the nuclear industry played in providing secure, low carbon energy. He said the industrial strategy needed to provide a long-term framework, which transcended parliaments and party politics to instil confidence in would-be investors. However he said it was important to get the right mix of horizontal and vertical support from Government as he worried a purely sector approach could stifle innovations that developed from the synergies of cross cutting industries. Wright also talked about how he would love to see another nuclear power station in Hartlepool because of the huge economic footprint it had in the local area and highlighted how the industry had been successful in creating a co-ordinated education strategy to guarantee future skills in the region.
Politics Home 24th March 2017 read more »