Hinkley Point C – A Review of the Year

The so-called UK nuclear renaissance “increasingly looks less a rebirth than an unsatisfactory assortment of stalling, disjointed projects” according to energy Journalist Tim Probert. At the end of 2014, six years after EDF Energy first announced its intention to develop Hinkley Point C, the Bristol Post says we can finally be reasonably confident the project will go ahead. But the paper still expresses some doubts, because EDF Energy has yet to make the final investment decision and one of its partners, Areva, has some financial challenges: “But in all likelihood the project will be confirmed early in the new year”.

Not everyone would be quite so bullish. To many it feels like the project is sleep walking towards disaster. It's just that no-one is quite sure whether the disaster will be a virtually ‘unconstructable' power plant struggling to come into operation years late and vastly over-budget or the collapse of the whole project before it even starts.

Cambridge nuclear engineer, Tony Roulstone, recently described the type of reactor planned for Hinkley as ‘unconstructable', and said Areva, the French company that owns the EPR design, is no longer actively selling power stations of this type. In those countries still looking to expand nuclear power, such as Saudi Arabia, China and Turkey, Areva is now pushing an alternative reactor. In China, where two EPRs are currently being constructed, the authorities have indicated that they will not use the design for future power plants. In other words, the Hinkley design is already regarded as a failure by those with most knowledge of it.

The European Commissioners decided to approve subsidies reported to be up to £17.6 billion to EDF Energy in October. Doug Parr, Chief Scientist at Greenpeace calculates the subsidies to be closer to £37billion on an undiscounted basis.

The Austrian Government has declared its intention to take the Commission to the European Court of Justice over the decision. In the UK independent energy supplier Ecotricity is also among companies and organisations considering a legal challenge. There appears to be a groundswell of opinion among renewable energy companies and associations in Britain and Europe that something should be done. This could leave the project in limbo. Legal action would take at least a year to conclude and EDF Energy would have to decide whether or not to risk proceeding with the project in the meantime in case it has to be abandoned if the legal action is successful.

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Nuclear reprocessor would be a "direct threat" to Barry

18 December 2014

PLANS to begin reprocessing nuclear waste at Hinkley point, just 14 miles across the sea from Barry Island, pose "a direct threat" of increasing levels of radioactivity in Barry.

When plans were approved for Britain's first new nuclear reactor in 18 years to be built at Hinkley Point - which can be seen from Barry Island on a clear day - environmental groups reacted with concern.

However, expert Tim Deere-Jones says that equally concerning are plans to reprocess nuclear waste from Hinkley's decommissioned reactors. The liquid waste would be discharged into the Bristol Channel delivering what Mr Deere-Jones calls "significant quantities of radioactivity" to Barry and south Wales.

A May 2013 report by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority states that their preferred option for getting rid of radioactive waste from Hinkley is not to ship it out to existing locations, and goes on to explain that "it makes sense" for the waste to remain where it is for reprocessing, although official planning permission is yet to be sought.

Magnox have stated that reprocessing waste from decommissioned power stations is safe, stating that liquid wastes are "discharged within authorised limits, which is a process that has been safely undertaken for more than 50 years."

A freedom of information request to Magnox, shows that this liquid contains at least 21 radioactive materials, including plutonium and americium which emit alpha radiation - dangerous if ingested or inhaled.

Mr Deere-Jones said: "Because dominant Bristol Channel currents the radioactivity is readily available for transport into south Wales coastal regions.

"As a result of the various mechanisms of sea to land transfer, south Wales coastal populations both close to and distant from the proposed Hinkley reprocessor will be exposed to multiple pathway doses of sea discharged radioactivity.

"These doses will be in addition to those already received from the long term historic marine radioactive discharges of the multiple nuclear sites on the Bristol Channel and any further future doses from the proposed new reactors at Hinkley."

Mr Deere-Jones went on to explain "Although marine discharged radioactivity initially dilutes, in the longer term there are a number of mechanisms by which it re-concentrates in marine environments."

A study in west Wales showed that radioactive elements discharged into the sea could later be found 10 miles inland in grass, having become highly enriched in sea spray due to onshore winds.

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The World Nuclear Industry Status Report
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014
The world's nuclear statistics are distorted by an anomaly whose cause is not technical but political. Three years after the Fukushima events started unfolding on 11 March 2011, government, industry and international institutional organizations continue to misrepresent the effects of the disaster on the Japanese nuclear program. To find a more appropriate way to deal with this situation, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 proposes a new category called Long-Term Outage. Click here for report

Molly Scott Cato's speech at Aldermaston Wool Against Weapons 9th Aug 2014
During Molly's speech she remembers both the Nagasaki bomb and Fukushima disaster. She emphasises the link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and reminds us we must continue to campaign to stop Hinkley C being built.

March 2014: JOINT SUBMISSION OF THE UK & IRELAND NUCLEAR FREE LOCAL AUTHORITIES (NFLA), CITIES FOR A NUCLEAR FREE EUROPE NETWORK (CNFE) AND STOP HINKLEY GROUP Re: STATE AID – UNITED KINGDOM INVESTMENT CONTRACT considering the UK Government 's agreement to provide financial assistance and guarantees to EDF to build new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point in Somerset and, at a later date, at Sizewell in Suffolk.

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Page Updated 20-Dec-2014

Sign the EWS petition tp EC against Hinkley C
The previous European Commission has approved scandalous nuclear subsidies for the construction and operation of the largest nuclear power plants in the world at Hinkley Point. This opens the floodgates for the construction of new nuclear power plants in Europe. We have appealed directly to the European Commission to complain against it. But only when the pressure of citizens is higher than the influence of the nuclear lobby will the new EC take back the wrong decision.
They ask you all: Join in!


What will be the total cost of nuclear waste?
We won't know until the final bill has been totted up in thousands of years. EdF won't take on that liability. EdF and the UK government are planning to dump it onto future generations.


This response takes an historical perspective set in the context of the proposal to build two additional nuclear reactors at Hinkley in Somerset. The fact that ‘virtual reprocessing' – or ‘not reprocessing' is proposed is to be welcomed. Unfortunately the decision to not reprocess should have been taken much earlier. At the Planning Stage it was quite clear that THORP was not needed. The same is true for the proposed Hinkley C Power Station.

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Click here to obtain stickers

A new report, A Corruption of Governance, prepared for the Association for the Conservation of Energy and Unlock Democracy was presented to MPs and NGOs at the House of Commons. It exposes that the evidence given to Ministers and Parliament, promoting the use of nuclear power, was a false summary of the analysis carried out by government departments.
The report, supported by a cross party group of MPs, calls for the case for nuclear power to be re-examined in a parliamentary debate, so the true facts can be discussed. More >>>

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