French finance authorities have raided the offices of EDF just days before the state-backed energy giant is expected to give the go-ahead to its controversial Hinkley Point new nuclear project. The long-awaited final decision on the Hinkley project is scheduled to take place at a board meeting next Thursday, even as authorities in both the UK and France escalate concerns over the costs of the £18bn project. French investigators from the Financial Markets Authority (AMF) swooped on EDF’s Paris headquarters on Thursday morning as part of a probe into EDF’s disclosure of information to the market. Investigators are said to be concerned about the reporting of its domestic nuclear maintenance costs as well as the plans to develop new nuclear reactors in Somerset. Local media reports say the AMF recovered a series of documents from the EDF offices and requested a meeting with EDF general secretary Pierre Todorov. Just hours after the raid the company said it would hold a board meeting on Thursday 28 July to agree a final decision on the project, feeding speculation that the company is preparing to push ahead with the 3.2GW project. The company also has a scheduled extraordinary general meeting on Tuesday next week, seeking approval from shareholders for itsproposed £3bn recapitalistion.
Telegraph 22nd July 2016 read more »
[Human translation] AMF investigators made a surprise visit on Thursday to EDF’s headquarters. The AMF’s investigation is into the fairness of the financial communications within EDF since 2013. The French Financial Markets Authority (AMF) is worried that EDF is about to undertake the inordinately excessive (pharonic) construction of Hinkley Point, which will cost £14 billions. But what were the men in gray of the Financial Markets Authority (AMF) looking for at the headquarters of EDF, avenue de Wagram, in Paris? According to Le Monde, three investigators commissioned by the stock market watchdog made a surprise raid on Thursday morning in the office of Peter Todorov, Secretary General of the EDF Group. According to an informed source quoted by AFP, investigators presented a warrant and asked “parts, information, dates, account reports ” relating to the expensive Hinkley Point project in Britain. If this was not an actual raid, it looked like one. We have learned that AMF recently opened an investigation against EDF, obviously believing that the group’s management had perhaps understated in its financial reporting the risks of the EPR construction project at Hinkley Point. Estimated construction costs are now £18 billion pounds (21 billion euros), 66% of which are to be borne by EDF. The AMF financial authority is also surprised how the amount of the renovation program of all French nuclear power plants, the “major overhaul” in EDF jargon, valued initially at 55 billion euros, was somehow revised down to 50 billion euros. The AMF survey covers the period from 2013 until today and thus covers ” the current Presidency and the previous” and those of the current CEO Jean-Bernard Levy and his predecessor Henri Proglio. The bad news did not stop EDF announcing that its Board would meet on Thursday, July 28 to approve the “final investment decision” for Hinkley Point. This announcement followed a summit meeting Thursday between French President Francois Hollande and the new British Prime Minister Theresa May, who gave a green light to the project. The investment part of the French utility, which owns a 66% of the project will be £12 billion (14.3 billion euros) and that of its Chinese partner CGN £ 6 billion. Construction should begin in 2019 with delivery expected in 2025. Although this is supported by the highest level of the state and EDF management, it ignores the opinion of the EDF Works Council which is concerned at the vertiginous the project costs and which has filed a lawsuit against EDF for more information.
Liberation 21st July 2016 read more »
The media is full of stories that EDF is about to announce a ‘final investment decision’ on Hinkley C nuclear power station, whereas the logic of its own press statements suggest that the project is in fact in deep freeze. Once again, EDF’s superb public relations is convincing people that its disastrous Hinkley C power plant project is moving ahead, whilst the reality is that it is announcing that the project will not be started until at least 2019. And even this date seems to be associated with the commissioning of the terribly delayed sister project at Flamanville. The document, released by EDF on July 21st, actually says: ‘The first concrete of reactor 1 of HPC, scheduled for mid-2019, would coincide with perfect continuity with the start-up of the EPR at Flamanville, scheduled for the end of 2018’. So, what is actually happening is that, as experts familiar with the saga know only too well, EDF is confirming that Hinkley’s construction could not possibly begin until the safety issues surrounding the reactor design have been cleared and the working of the Flamanville project has been demonstrated. This is not going to happen for a minimum of THREE YEARS. contrary to what seems to be widely assumed, the UK Government has not even offered EDF a legally binding contract. It beggars belief how seriously one can take a project that has not even got an offer of a contract from the people who are supposed to be paying for it! But then the project has long since departed from being based on any sense of commercial reality, and linkages with commercial reality have always been tenuous, as they will be with any nuclear power project that has to meet the sort of safety standards demanded in developed countries these days.
Dave Toke’s Blog 22nd July 2016 read more »
Ecologist 22nd July 2016 read more »
Billions of pounds’ worth of public projects will have to be scrapped by Theresa May because of a “tidal wave” of pressures from an impending Brexit, the head of Whitehall’s official spending watchdog has said. The comptroller and auditor general of the National Audit Office, Sir Amyas Morse, said the government would have to treat leaving the EU as an “emergency” and that government departments would be forced to decide which plans could be cancelled or suspended. Major projects such as the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, a third runway at Heathrow and the ambitious HS2 rail project would have to be reassessed as the government decides which can be done without, he told the Guardian. “We need to ask ourselves, can the public sector deliver Hinkley Point C, a third runway, HS2, a northern powerhouse, nuclear decommissioning, Trident renewal and restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster all at the same time? “All these projects are drawing on the same pool of skills and many of these contain optimism bias that they will be able to meet their skill needs at an appropriate cost,” he said, while declining to speculate on which should be scrapped. “You are going to have to rein in projects … and say, what is the benefit? How damaging is it not to have it for a period of time? Can we afford it?” he said.
Guardian 21st July 2016 read more »
Daily Mail 22nd July 2016 read more »
Business leaders have criticised the head of the National Audit Office for suggesting that the government would have to put the brakes on big infrastructure projects to focus on the “tidal wave” of Brexit. Hinkley Point, Britain’s first new nuclear power station for decades, could get the go-ahead when EDF, the French state-owned company behind the project, makes an announcement next week about its future.
FT 22nd July 2016 read more »
Next Thursday will be make or break day for Hinkley Point C, with EDF, the company behind the planned new nuclear power plant set to make its final decision at a board meeting.The company says it has called a board meeting for July 28 and the investment decision is on the agenda.
Bristol Post 22nd July 2016 read more »
Proposals to build Europe’s second biggest nuclear power station near Sellafield in Cumbria must create a “lasting legacy” for the region, according to county councillors who have given their backing for the scheme. Members of Cumbria County Council’s cabinet said they are “broadly supportive” of the £10bn Moorside power station scheme and recognise the “considerable economic benefits” that it will bring.
iNews 22nd July 2016 read more »
The 2nd Moorside Consultation for the “biggest nuclear development in Europe” finishes on 30th July. ‘Too Big and Too Nasty to Fight‘ is the View of the Proposed Moorside Plan from so many good people like the Director of Cumbria Wildlife Trust who feel utterly defeated by the nuclear juggernaught coming our way. This is of course what the industry wants you to think. BUT WE CAN DEFEAT THEM, ALL IT TAKES IS YOU. Thousands of people have already joined the Resistance. We advise that as many people as possible write, phone, email to tell NuGen in your own words that : “I do not recognise this Consultation as valid….”
Radiation Free Lakeland 22nd July 2016 read more »
The second stage of a public consultation for a new nuclear power station is to be launched next month, marking a “significant milestone” for the project.
ITV 22nd July 2016 read more »
Belfast Telegraph 22nd July 2016 read more »
EDF Energy has today called a meeting of its board of directors to decide the long-awaited final investment decision (FID) for the construction of the twin reactor Hinkley Point C (HPC) project in Somerset. That will trigger the next stage of preparations for Sizewell C, with the stage two consultation on the project expected to start within a few months. Residents and community leaders have been increasingly frustrated by the lack of fresh information on key issues – including construction workers’ accommodation and park and ride sites – with some doubting the project will ever go ahead. EDF though has insisted that its plans are on track, despite considerable delays.
Ipswich Star 22nd July 2016 read more »
Nuclear energy is the best way of ensuring the UK has constant power supply whilst decarbonising the sector. According to infrastructure group Balfour Beatty, new nuclear power stations must be built if the nation is to meet its 2050 goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80%, relative to 1990 levels. Its new report, ‘Infrastructure 2050: Future Infrastructure Needs’, looks at how the UK can best meet the energy trilemma challenge – developing a sustainable, affordable and reliable energy system. One of the main suggestions is supporting the current 16GW new build nuclear programme.
Energy Live News 23rd July 2016 read more »
A FORMER Dounreay worker who took legal action against his former employers after contracting a lung disease has agreed an out-of-court settlement. Jimmy Reid, who worked at the site for 37 years, claimed that up until the late 1990s workers at the atom plant were never given any specialist equipment or training on how to deal with asbestos. In 2014 he was diagnosed with pleural plaques, characterised by the thickening of the lining of the lungs caused by asbestos inhalation.
John O Groat Journal 22nd July 2016 read more »
Chicago Bridge & Iron Co NV (CB&I) has sued Westinghouse Electric Co to protect itself from a potential $2 billion claim from Westinghouse related to the sale of CB&I’s nuclear construction business to Westinghouse in 2015. CB&I said in its complaint that Westinghouse, a unit of Japanese engineering firm Toshiba Corp improperly used a provision of the purchase agreement to justify its claim. That provision, according to CB&I, was only to be used to true up the parties’ working capital expenses between the signing of the sale agreement in October and the closing of the deal in December.
Reuters 22nd July 2016 read more »
A working group assembled by the Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) has made recommendations on how non-state sources can help fund the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) nuclear security and technical cooperation activities. The Vienna-based IAEA currently receives the majority of its funding – including extrabudgetary resources – from its member states. However, the PSA notes, “many members states are financially constrained, still recovering from the global economic recession that began in 2008, limiting the amount they can contribute voluntarily”. As a result, the IAEA “faces a shortage of resources that impedes its ability to develop and implement” its technical cooperation and nuclear security activities. As part of a two-year project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the PSA brought together a working group to consider ways in which non-state sources can help fund these activities. The group was composed of individuals from 17 countries, including former senior officials from the IAEA Secretariat, former governors and ambassadors who represented their countries at the IAEA, and other experts with IAEA experience. The working group has now published its final report – entitledStrengthening the IAEA: Technical Cooperation and Nuclear Security – in which it says the agency “stands to benefit from diversifying its options through voluntary contributions”. The report says, “The non-state donor community – industry and businesses, foundations, international governmental organizations (IGOs), and other entities in the position to donate or partner with the agency – can play a larger role in helping the agency execute its expanding portfolio.”
World Nuclear News 22nd July 2016 read more »
Washington’s attorney general on Thursday asked a federal judge to immediately take steps to protect Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers from exposure to chemical vapors. More than 50 workers have received medical evaluations after reporting exposure to vapors in recent months. Attorney General Bob Ferguson, along with the watchdog group Hanford Challenge and a labor union, filed motions for a preliminary injunction in federal court in Eastern Washington. The injunction seeks to prevent further harm to Hanford workers by implementing certain protections now, instead of waiting for the outcome of a trial.
ABC News 22nd July 2016 read more »
Britain’s decline as a manufacturing economy has been remorseless – the future of its very foundation, steelmaking, is uncertain – and those industries that do survive tend to be owned elsewhere. And yet, remarkably, a British company employing British workers is set to build some of the most complex, expensive and hazardous machines in the world – the four Successor class nuclear submarines, approved by parliamentary vote this week, which with their armament of Trident missiles will ensure that the United Kingdom remains a nuclear power into the second half of the century.
Guardian 23rd July 2016 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News – more on Green Gas, and Fife Council has switched on its first commercial-scale wind turbine which it hopes will generate £100,000 a year.
Microgen Scotland 22nd July 2016 read more »
A new report estimates the EU energy renovation market at EUR 109 billion in 2015 and 882,900 jobs. It shows that the size of the EU energy renovation market could increase by almost half the current energy renovation market if a 40% energy savings target is adopted for 2030. This would lead to more than one million additional jobs. Increasing the size of the emerging EU energy renovation market would require the design of an overarching, integrated and streamlined framework for buildings based on the “Efficiency First” principle. Such an overarching framework would, as required by the better regulation package, streamline reporting and ensure coherence between the investment-climate-energy provisions currently included in at least 14 EU policy instruments. It would also simplify implementation for Member States, avoid double-counting and facilitate compliance checking. The first step towards this transformation is to address the gaps and loopholes identified in the 14 existing EU instruments aiming to increase investments in reducing energy consumption in buildings and their related GHG emissions. The report suggests a specific recommendation for each of the identified gaps and loopholes. The “Efficiency First” investment-climate-energy proposed framework for buildings would require new governance structure at EU level including setting-up an EU Energy Renovation Facilitator and an EU Risk Sharing Facility. This would give industry confidence to invest in the industrialisation of energy renovation which would unleash the 4th industrial revolution in Europe. The report suggests the first steps towards the design of such a framework.
OpenEXP 22nd July 2016 read more »