Stop Hinkley welcomes calls to admit Hinkley will not go-ahead
Stop Hinkley has welcomed news that Jonathan Reynolds MP, Labour's shadow climate change minister, has called on the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, to admit that Hinkley Point C will not proceed and to inform parliament what her alternative energy strategy will be.
Problems for Hinkley keep mounting. Last week the Daily Telegraph reported that French Nuclear Safety Inspectors had found crucial faults in the cooling system of a reactor similar to the Hinkley design, which is being built in Normandy. The fault would expose the reactor to the risk of a meltdown.
This followed news in April that anomalies had been found in the bottom and lid of the reactor pressure vessel (RPVs) of the Normandy reactor. This means weaknesses in the vital metal structure protecting the outside world from the highly radioactive reactor core. Pierre-Franck Chevet, head of France's nuclear safety inspectorate revealed that the same manufacturing technique was used in the steel for the identical safety casings destined for Hinkley Point, which “have already been manufactured”.
Stop Hinkley also welcomed the statement from the SNP's Climate and Energy Spokesperson, Calum McCaig MP who said “The financial crisis surrounding the future of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant demonstrates yet again the folly of the UK government's decision to spend huge amounts of public money to subsidise new nuclear power stations… By diverting money away from renewables to new nuclear the UK Government's plans are also damaging the renewables sector. Hinkley is a bad deal that will push up bills and cost the taxpayers a fortune for many, many years to come.”
According to the Financial Times, Treasury officials now believe that there are serious questions about the European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR) technology and unless these are fixed the Government will not want to go-ahead with Hinkley.
Stop Hinkley spokesperson, Roy Pumfrey, said: “The Government can't continue to pretend that Hinkley will go ahead. It is high time that the threat of this massive disruption to Somerset was removed permanently and we were allowed us to get on with planning for the renewable future that we so desperately need”.
Government and EDF in talks over liabilities if Austria wins nuclear state aid appeal
The Telegraph, 30 June 2015
The Government and EDF are in talks over who will pick up the costs if Austria wins its appeal against the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear plant once construction has begun.
Plans for the £16bn Hinkley Point plant received state aid clearance from the European Commission last year but Austria has vowed to challenge this, alleging that subsidies for the project constitute illegal state aid.
Although the Government and EDF both insist the appeal, expected to be lodged this week, has no merit, it is understood they are yet to agree on what would happen in the unlikely event Austria does win.
Andrea Leadsom, the new energy minister, said on Tuesday she was “confident that the key investment decision on Hinkley C will happen soon, which will enable construction to start”.
But speaking on the fringes of the Nuclear Industry Association’s annual conference, Ms Leadsom also confirmed that the Government was “looking very closely” at the issue of how the project could go ahead with a state aid challenge ongoing.
Austria’s state aid appeal is likely to hang over the project for at least a year and potentially as long as six years – during which time billions of pounds would be spent on construction.