EDF boss admits he must stay humble about the Hinkley challenges ahead. Simone Rossi, the new chief executive officer of EDF Energy, is a rarity: a chief financial officer who has made the move to CEO, an Italian who now leads the UK business of a French company. He is also preparing to shake up what we think we know about Britain’s new nuclear renaissance. But if his predecessor bore a philosophical weariness after years battling towards a financial deal for Hinkley Point C, Rossi appears energised by the opportunity to reap the benefits of EDF’s Herculean efforts. The Hinkley deal took more than a decade for EDF to agree with the Government and its Chinese projects partners at CGN. It will cost energy consumers around £50bn by guaranteeing EDF a price of £92.50 for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of energy produced. The Sizewell C project, planned for East Anglia, will build on the Hinkley experience. It is the project that Rossi believes will cast off the shackles of doubt that have held back the UK’s new nuclear ambitions over the past decade. In his first public outing as EDF Energy’s boss last week, Rossi revealed his plans for 2018: to secure an “innovative new financing model” for the group’s follow-up to the £20bn Hinkley Point project at Sizewell. He also claims he will do it while cutting the cost shouldered by energy-bill payers by 20pc. It is a bold claim, which suggests a step change in Britain’s nuclear narrative. For the past decade, the Government’s ambition to bring forward investment in up to 16GW of new nuclear power capacity has been dogged by concerns over the technology’s eye-watering costs and potentially crippling risks. EDF has always maintained nuclear costs are a price worth paying for clean, reliable energy. Howeve r, by sounding his intention to slash costs to compete with renewable power, Rossi is turning preconceptions on their head. The accepted wisdom is that the cost of nuclear reactors is too high to compete with renewable energy alternatives, and that a decades-old industry is already too mature to bring costs down. Rossi admits that the cost of Sizewell C will not be able to fall at the same breakneck trajectory as offshore wind. For these giant turbine projects – which EDF is building too – costs have more than halved to less than £58 per MWh hour in recent auctions. But he insists nuclear power costs will drop, and will compete with wind power on a level playing field. EDF estimates that the hidden cost of supporting wind power can add between £15 to £20 per MWh to their headline figures through the extra payments needed to back up wind farms when the wind drops, or pay developers to shut down their turbines when there is more wind power than the country needs. EDF therefore needs to cut costs down at least to £80 per MWh to prove it can compete with wind power at today’s rates. Rossi is clear that nuclear needs to be competitive at future prices, too, so even bigger savings are necessary. Ultimately his plan relies on proving that an infrastructure undertaking as vast and complex as Hinkley can be delivered on time and on budget. There is little room for complacency, though. Rossi is unlikely to escape the legacy of his predecessor’s early promise that Hinkley would help cook British turkeys by Christmas 2017. “We need to be humble. We have to recognise that projects of this scale and magnitude will present challenges even if we’ve done all the homework, and drawn on all the past lessons, and we’ve got all the tools other things can happen,” he says. EDF’s beleaguered first attempt to use its next-generation reactor design at the Flamanville nuclear project in France is £6.2bn over budget and expected to be six years late. Rossi insists Hinkley will not face the same fate.
Telegraph 20th Jan 2018 read more »
Campaigners opposed to Hinkley Point nuclear waste dump dismiss ‘alarmist’ jibe. A CAMPAIGN group attempting to block the dumping of waste from a nuclear power plant into waters off the Welsh coast has rejected claims their concerns are “alarmist.” Members of ‘Stop the Dump’ have been fighting against Welsh Government proposals to relocate waste from the Hinkley Point nuclear power station – which is just 14 miles across the water from Barry Island – into the Bristol Channel at a site referred to as ‘the Cardiff Grounds’. Late last year the Vale of Glamorgan council met to discuss the plans, with leader Cllr John Thomas saying “local residents are understandably very concerned about this proposal” and that the council would “take all steps possible to ensure all necessary assessments are undertaken and safeguards are in place when and if any depositing of material goes ahead.” Stop the Dump have denied accusations of scaremongering from EDF, who run Hinkley power station, arguing that the Welsh Government and its partners are being “reckless” in their consideration of the proposals. The Stop the Dump campaign argue that this testing was flawed and insufficient, and have been seeking enhanced environmental information over the proposals to dump 300,000 tonnes of marine sediment into the site. Speaking on behalf of the campaign, marine radioactivity specialist Tim Deere-Jones said: “Recent claims of alarmism made by the nuclear industry against the Stop the Dump Campaign are nothing more than an attempt to hide the fact that the industry has no answers to the concerns raised by both the campaign and AMs on the Senedd petitions committee.”
Barry & District News 20th Jan 2018 read more »