Is Hinkley C going the same way as the French and Finnish EPR disasters?? As EDF announces major cost overruns and delays after having only recently started major construction works for Hinkley C, it seems that this project is heading for the same sort of financial disasters suffered already by the other two European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) being built in Finland and France. Yet the Government is going ahead with a financial model, the ‘Regulated Asset Base’ (RAB) to finance the next EPR at Sizewell C, that would mean electricity consumers would have to pay for cost overruns over and above EDF’s own ridiculously low estimates of costs.
Dave Toke’s Blog 25th Sept 2019 read more »
EDF has announced that the cost of building Hinkley Point C has increased by up to £2.9bn. In a statement released following a “project review”, the French firm has revised the project completion estimated cost as between £21.5bn-£22.5bn, up from its previous estimate of £19.6bn. EDF also said the risk of a 15-month project delay has increased. This was first warned as a possibility in 2017. This morning’s change of schedule has been blamed on “challenging ground conditions”, which has increased the cost of earthworks.
Construction News 25th Sept 2019 read more »
Bloomberg 25th Sept 2019 read more »
Montel News 25th Sept 2019 read more »
BBC 25th Sept 2019 read more »
Stop Hinkley spokesperson Allan Jeffery said: This project would be rapidly becoming an enormous joke if it wasn’t such a tragedy for those of us who have to live next to it. Why anybody in Government ever thought EDF was capable of building it on time and budget after the disasters of Flamanville and Olkiluoto will remain a mystery. It must now surely be time to scrap this project. Despite having to pay cancellation fees consumers could still save around £50bn. The cost of electricity from Hinkley Point C will now have reached around £106/MWh compared to less than £40/MWh for new offshore wind power.
ITV 25th Sept 2019 read more »
French energy giant EDF has suffered another blow in the development of its controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in the U.K. after costs soared by as much as £2.9 billion ($3.6 billion), potentially to more than £22 billion. Hinkley Point C has 35-year contract for difference (CFD) with the U.K. government guaranteeing it £92.50 per megawatt-hour ($115). A review of that deal by the national spending watchdog called it “high cost and risky.”The structure of the CFD means consumers aren’t exposed to increased costs beyond the strike price
Green Tech Media 25th Sept 2019 read more »
The cost of building the UK’s first new nuclear power plant in a generation has risen by up to £2.9bn and the total bill could be more than £22bn. EDF Energy said the construction cost for Hinkley Point C in Somerset had climbed by between £1.9bn to £2.9bn from the company’s last estimates and is running the risk of further delays. As a consequence, the total cost has risen from £19.5bn to between £21.5bn and £22.5bn. The nuclear developer blamed challenging ground conditions, which made earthworks at the site more expensive than it expected. The French company also misjudged the cost of adapting its new pressurised water reactor design to meet UK nuclear regulation standards. EDF is using the same reactor design at the Olkiluoto nuclear project in Finland and at Flamanville in France, where costs have also spiralled by billions of euros. EDF Energy’s strategy director, Paul Spence, told BBC Radio 4 that he “can’t be sure today” that there won’t be further cost increases at Hinkley Point, which is due to start supplying 7% of the UK’s electricity by 2025.
Guardian 25th Sept 2019 read more »
Extra cost of € 5 billion and delays for UK-built EPR. The construction of Hinkley Point C in England is expected to cost 25 billion euros, and could be up to fifteen months late. In December 2012, the boss of EDF in the United Kingdom, Vincent de Rivaz, who was fighting to complete the financing of the Hinkley Point C plant, told Le Monde: “The future of the EPR is at stake in this site. ” Seven years later, these words resonate with a more disturbing echo than ever for the future of the French nuclear industry. On Wednesday, September 25, EDF announced a risk of delay and an additional cost that will exceed 10% for its Hinkley Point C project. Contacted by Le Monde, EDF estimates that the causes of this new additional cost are of three types. First, the huge earthworks, visibly poorly evaluated, cost more than expected. Then, the British regulator asked for adaptations of the design of the EPR. This is particularly the case of the control command of the plant, which allows operators to operate the reactors, and which had to be partly revised to meet the requirements of the Safety Authority. Lastly, EDF planned to reduce costs, but the plan designed for this purpose did not generate the expected margins.
Le Monde 25th Sept 2019 read more »
Advocates of new nuclear power argue zero carbon baseload electricity is a crucial to delivering the UK’s climate targets, with batteries not yet able to scale at the level required to offset the intermittency of wind and solar power. But Dr Jonathan Marshall, head of analysis at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said news of further Hinkley delays and cost overruns highlighted why there were concerns about potentially using different funding models to get future nuclear projects off the ground that could put greater risk onto taxpayers. “Considering the apparent inability of the nuclear industry to deliver projects on time and on budget, this is a cause for concern,” he said. “As the urgency to build new low carbon energy sources increases, it is vital that policy makers ensure that projects are deliverable. Transforming the UK into a net zero carbon nation will be more difficult without the ability to count on planned projects to deliver clean energy in the next decade and beyond.”
Business Green 25th Sept 2019 read more »
Britain’s planned nuclear revival suffered a serious blow yesterday after the company building the Hinkley Point C power station said that it would cost up to £3 billion more than expected and was likely to be delayed. The plant in Somerset is expected to cost up to £22.5 billion, up from £19.6 billion, and could suffer further cost overruns, EDF, the French state-controlled energy giant, admitted. The disclosure is damaging to EDF’s attempts to secure government agreement for a proposed second plant in Suffolk using a new funding model that would put consumers on the hook for cost overruns. EDF has proposed that a sister station at Sizewell in Suffolk would instead be supported by a regulated asset base funding model that would see consumers start paying for the project while it was still under construction and share in the risk of cost overruns. The government is consulting on plans to adopt the model, which it says could reduce consumer bills compared with the model used for Hinkley, but was already facing opposition from critics who say consumers should not be exposed to cost blowouts. Mr Rossi insisted that the Hinkley cost overruns had “no direct read-across” to Sizewell, which he said would have “more cost certainty with identical engineering already adapted to UK conditions, known quantities of materials and the experience gained at Hinkley Point C”. The case for new nuclear plants has also been weakened by falling costs in technologies such as offshore wind.
Times 26th Sept 2019 read more »
The latest problem? The wrong sort of mud. Or “challenging ground conditions”, as EDF put it. Yes, it’s only been on site for a decade, so can’t be expected to have spotted that. And it’s been a bit distracted, what with all the dodgy welding at Flammable or Flamanville, or whatever it’s called. Hinkley’s French prototype has been showing how it’s done: at least ten years late with costs trebling to €10.9 billion. Mr Rossi can’t be allowed to get away this point: “It is also important to say that today’s news has no direct read-across to our follow-on project at Sizewell C.” Who’s he think he’s kidding? That one is the mooted prototype for something else: the government’s tortuous “regulated asset base” financing model for new nuclear. Yes, it might avoid a re-run of Hinkley saddling consumers with rip-off bills decades out, but only at the price of leaving them exposed to construction risk. As Jonathan Marshall of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit put it: “Under the proposed RAB scheme, energy bills will increase to pay for nuclear power stations before they start generating.” In short, we’ll be paying upfront for EDF’s routine screw-ups. In fact, the key read-across is that we’re better off without Sizewell C at all, not least when the strike price for offshore wind is now down to as little as £39.65/MWh. True, the wind doesn’t blow every day and back-up is required. But there must be something less financially radioactive than big, new nuclear. As EDF keeps proving, the outdated concept needs shipping off pronto. Preferably on one of its rafts.
Times 26th Sept 2019 read more »
Quelle Surprise, Another New Nuclear Blow-Up. EDF’s Hinkley Point project is suffering cost overruns, dealing another blow to those who think atomic power can save us from climate catastrophe. Massive infrastructure projects are almost always delivered late and over budget. The bill for London’s Crossrail project has risen to 17.6 billion pounds ($21.9 billion), while the country’s north-south HS2 rail link may end up costing an unfathomable 88 billion pounds. Even so, there’s a place in budgetary hell reserved for new nuclear power plants, for whom financial commitments and completion dates seem to be entirely malleable concepts (at least outside China).
Bloomberg 25th Sept 2019 read more »
Could rising costs at Hinkley Point C end the UK’s nuclear ambitions? The main trade-off with the RAB deal was that loading more construction risk onto consumers should make it cheaper to raise funds and therefore cheaper electricity, says Jonathan Marshall at non-profit the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit. But the more delays and over-runs there are, it will add to concerns that consumers will be left to pick up an ever-increasing bill, he says. “Consumer groups and others that are against the new framework are going to point to the delays at Hinkley as evidence that billpayers will be liable to pay more than planned to bring new power stations online.” EDF Energy says that learning lessons from Hinkley means that spiralling costs may not happen with a second power plant. But that may not be important. “The case for nuclear is not about economics,” says Peter Atherton at market research firm Cornwall Insight. He says that even though nuclear is very expensive, it is currently the only way for the UK to get continuous power in a zero carbon system. “That doesn’t change if it’s a bit more expensive or a bit less expensive,” he says. Atherton is sceptical renewables and large scale batteries today can yet fill the role that nuclear plays in the energy system, for the same price. But there are signs that won’t always be the case. Just last week, the cost of subsidising offshore windfarms dropped to a record low, and may result in consumers’ energy bills falling. The dream of a nuclear dawn may not have died today, but a nuclear sunset is looking increasingly more likely.
New Scientist 25th Sept 2019 read more »
Britain’s electric shock: Abandoning Hinkley Point would be damaging to Britain’s energy future, says ALEX BRUMMER. The high Hinkley cost of up to £22.5billion will lead to calls for the project to be abandoned and for Britain to invest more in solar and wind power. But to do so would be damaging to Britain’s energy future. When the wind blows the UK is now capable of producing up to 50 per cent of its electric needs using renewables. But this is still an unreliable source of supply.
Daily Mail 25th Sept 2019 read more »