Nick Butler and Shahin Vallée: EDF, “an industrial, economic and financial fiasco”. The costly EDF rescue attempt will delay the essential change in France’s energy policy, analyze in a column in the “World” the two economists Nick Butler and Shahin Vallée. A year ago, the reaction to the announcement of a relatively modest increase in fuel taxes was one of the triggers for the movement of “yellow vests”. Another energy bill is looming today. This time, the bill will fall on taxpayers rather than motorists, but the burden will be even heavier. But since the costs borne by taxpayers will be diffuse and can be easily hidden, it is likely that we will escape a real public debate. What is at stake today is the price of responsibility for decades of an inept energy policy that has put Elecricité de France (EDF) in a state of near bankruptcy, forcing the State to organize its rescue. . The root cause of this bankruptcy is twofold: on the one hand, the evolution of the energy market, with the collapse of the marginal cost of renewable energies, the relatively low price of carbon and the increasing interconnection of the European market for energy; and on the other hand, the dismal performance of EDF in the implementation of its new extremely expensive program of nuclear power plants (EPR). According to its defenders, the EPR offered, due to the effects of scale, the prospect of producing large volumes of electrical energy at a low unit cost. The only problem is that the French nuclear industry has not been able to build and operate a single EPR (apart from one in China, at Taishan, but which is not built to exactly the same specifications) . In Finland, the Olkiluoto EPR is eleven years behind. The estimated cost of Flamanville increased from 3.3 billion to 12.4 billion euros. In the UK, the Hinkley Point plant, which was supposed to go into production at Christmas 2017, has just entered the construction phase of the reactor. Costs have already reached 26 billion euros – the most recent increase being due to the late discovery of the excessive humidity of the site’s basement. In addition, local unions, which had previously supported the project, have now identified serious health risks, some of which have led to suicide attempts, which may further delay the project.
Le Monde 13th Dec 2019 read more »
France’s EDF has presented a plan – referred to as excell – that aims to drive the country’s nuclear industry to achieve “the highest standards of craftsmanship, quality and excellence”. The plan will be launched next year, with EUR100 million (USD112 million) earmarked for 2020-2021.
World Nuclear News 16th Dec 2019 read more »