Doubts about the Hinkley Point nuclear plant being built on time intensified yesterday when its developer announced fresh delays to a prototype in France caused by defective welding. EDF, the French state-controlled energy company, is building Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation in Somerset and aims to start generating electricity from the £20 billion project in 2025. The company is building the same reactor type at Flamanville, Normandy, but has repeatedly had to put back the start-up date, originally 2012, because of construction problems. EDF said yesterday that first power generation at Flamanville would now slip by a year to early 2020 because it needed to repair “quality deficiencies” in the welding in part of the plant that carries steam to the turbines. The cost of the plant has increased by a further €400 million to €10.9 billion, more than three times its original budget. City analysts at RBC Capital Markets said the announcement would “add to concerns about whether EDF’s other projects . . . can be delivered on time and budget”. Hinkley Point is due to generate 3.2 gigawatts of power, seven per cent of Britain’s power needs, and is meant to help keep the lights on when coal and older nuclear plants close. EDF insists it has learnt the lessons from the EPRs being built elsewhere, ensuring that the British project will proceed more smoothly. However, Britain’s nuclear safety regulator has raised concerns about substandard quality control checks on EDF’s supply chain. A source insisted that Hinkley should not suffer the same problems as Flamanville because the project uses a different contractor and testing method, both of which had already been deployed successfully in Finland. Kate Blagojevic, head of energy at Greenpeace UK, said: “EDF’s nuclear design just doesn’t work very well. The nuclear power plant in Finland is a decade late and because of yet more technical problems, the Flamanville plant has gone from late to later. This bodes ill for Hinkley Point C.” A spokesman for EDF said: “The construction of Hinkley Point C remains on track. The project has already benefited, and will continue to learn from the experience of other projects.”
Times 26th July 2018 read more »
More than £1.3bn in contracts at Hinkley Point C have been awarded to businesses in Devon and the South West, according to Government figures released last week. Devon firms from heavy engineering specialists to office chair suppliers are among the businesses taking a slice of the building project – the biggest of its kind in Europe. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, according to the team who are tasked with finding the right businesses to slot into the Hinkley supply chain.
Devon Live 24th July 2018 read more »