EDF believes that it can build a second nuclear power station to follow Hinkley Point C for up to £5 billion less than the Somerset plant. The French energy giant has said it will cost it at least £19.6 billion to build Hinkley Point, Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation, and as much as £20.3 billion if delays push it becoming operational back from 2025 to 2027. The company is drawing up plans to build a sister plant at Sizewell C in Suffolk and believes that it can cut the construction cost by up to 25 per cent thanks to efficiencies from “copying and pasting” large elements of Hinkley Point, The Times has learnt. The reactor type has yet to be built successfully anywhere in the world, with projects in France, Finland and China all delayed. CGN, the Chinese company working in partnership with EDF in Britain and China, confirmed further delays at their Taishan project last week.EDF believes that a key selling point for Sizewell is that, as the “second of a kind” in the UK, it can take advantage of the work done for Hinkley Point to slash the construction bill by 20 per cent to 25 per cent. It is understood to expect to be able to eliminate the majority of the £2 billion costs it spent on pre-construction work on Hinkley Point. It also expects to make billions more in savings by using contractors and equipment that have already gone through training and certification processes for use on nuclear sites. Cutting the cost of building to about £15 billion could help to reduce the subsidy contract price to nearer £70 per megawatt-hour. EDF believes that significant further reductions could be made if the government were to agree a new financing model so that developers did not have to bear all the upfront construct ion cost. EDF, along with the rest of the industry and the House of Commons’ public accounts committee, is urging ministers to look at alternative funding models that the National Audit Office said would have significantly reduced the eventual cost to consumers had they been used for Hinkley Point C. These include the government taking a direct equity stake or adopting a regulated asset base model similar to that used for the Thames Tideway Tunnel, under which developers would receive income during construction. Without such a change, the project is unlikely to go ahead since EDF, which required a French state bailout to afford Hinkley Point, could not fund another plant in advance.
Times 3rd Jan 2017 read more »