Hinkley Point C likely to be “dead in the water”

27 January 2016

The Stop Hinkley Campaign has learnt that the final investment decision on Hinkley Point C has been taken off the agenda of today's EDF Board meeting because of serious concerns among the private investors about how the project will be financed.  The main item on the agenda is now expected to be the company's merger with Areva, the French nuclear energy group.

The managers' union CFE-CGC, which has a seat on EDF's board, posed a set of last-minute questions to the company about the financial risks. It has voiced concern that “significant” financial issues related to Hinkley could “put EDF in danger” in the long term. A CFE-CGC document highlighted the construction problems at both Flamanville and another similar plant in Finland, which is 10 years behind schedule and €5bn over budget. It asked: “What is the rationale for starting construction on two EPRs [European pressurised reactors], at the same site, in such a short period of time?” The second largest shareholder after the French Government – the Association of Employee Shareholders (EAS) - has asked for the project to be halted.

Other points of interest from today's press include:

  • EDF has debts of €37 billion (£28 billion) and its share price has fallen from €29 in April 2014 to €11.87 this week. Peter Atherton, an analyst at      Jefferies, the US investment bank, said: “Financing such a massive project will place a significant strain on EDF's finances.” 
  • EDF      is struggling to find the cash for its 66.5% share of Hinkley Point C and is now "putting pressure on the [French] state, which owns 84.5% of the Company, to come up with fresh funds".
  • According to Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch EDF may now need to find a new financial partner to fund 16.5% of the project, reducing EDF's share to 50%.
  • The earliest a final investment decision can now be made would be 16      February.

Stop Hinkley Spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said: “By our reckoning this is the ninth time EDF has said a final investment decision is imminent, and then nothing has happened. With all the problems that EDF has – the need to spend €55bn upgrading old French reactors; find €1.4bn to buy Areva and increasing waste disposal costs,  I really can't see how the situation will be any different by 16 th February”.

“Problems with the construction of other EPRs at Flamanville in France, Olkiluoto in Finland and Taishan in China continue to mount up. It is now looking increasingly likely that Hinkley Point C is dead in the water .”

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Hinkley Point C will add 80% to the UK radioactive waste stockpile

25 January 2016

As press reports suggest that EDF may take a final investment decision on the Hinkley Point C proposals on Wednesday this week, the Stop Hinkley Campaign has released a new briefing on the huge impact the Somerset reactors would have on the UK's radioactive waste stockpile.

The proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station would produce radioactive wastes and spent fuel with a radioactivity inventory equal to roughly 80% of the radioactivity in all of the UK's existing radioactive wastes put together. As the UK Government eagerly awaits a final investment decision on possibly the most expensive infrastructure project in UK history, Ministers are misleading the public on how much nuclear waste it will create.

The Stop Hinkley Campaign has today published a briefing, using Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) Ltd figures, which shows what the real situation is.

Stop Hinkley Spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said: “Stop Hinkley representatives were amazed recently to hear Energy minister Andrea Leadsom claim that new nuclear reactors would produce much less waste than existing reactors. She must have been referring to waste volume which is not a useful way to measure these wastes. What we need to know is how radioactive they are. And we can see from RWM Ltd's own figures that Hinkley Point C alone will produce the equivalent of 80% of the waste existing reactors have produced. The UK's proposed new reactors will altogether increase the UK waste inventory in terms of radioactivity four-fold. And if the industry ever finds a site to put this dangerous waste deep underground the amount of space required underground will almost triple.”

Pumfrey goes on to say that: “It would be morally reprehensible and totally irresponsible to go ahead with building new reactors when we still have no idea what we are going to do with the waste we have already created let alone the waste from Hinkley Point C.”

According to some press reports a final investment decision on Hinkley Point C could be made at an EDF Board meeting on Wednesday this week. Roy Pumfrey said:

“It sounds like some of the EDF Board is in a "panic" over the viability of the Hinkley Point C proposals. Clearly the only sensible investment decision would be "No". EDF has said all along it will learn from its past mistakes building other reactors. Clearly the mistake it made with Flamanville in Normandy was ever to start the reactor in the first place.”

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Stop Hinkley Briefing
25th January 2016

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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

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Page Updated 07-Feb-2016

The notion that nuclear is cheaper somewhere else is a myth

The British attitude to the notion that nuclear power is not cheap after all is a bit like a child who first hears that Father Christmas does not, after all, exist. Disbelief, and in this case a belief that if only Father Christmas is nationalised, then it will still be true. The psychologists call this cognitive dissonance, in other words if a fact is uncomfortable to you, you believe that the fact is wrong. More >>>

The Times, 21 Aug 2015
Predicting future energy prices can be tricky, as anyone foxed by sub-$50 oil might testify — ie just about everyone. So, how nice to come across a bunch of people who know exactly where prices will be for the next 45 years.
Who they? None other than the British government, an institution itching for October when it can give away billions of pounds we don’t have to France and China. That’s when David Cameron plans to sign up to Hinkley Point C, the first new nuclear power station for a generation, and yours for a snip at £24.5 billion.
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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.

Hinkley C Infomation Evening
A talk by Roy Pumfrey of Stop Hinkley with a short film and discussion
Hosted by North Somerset Green Party
Friday 4 March 2016 7pm
Crossroads Carers Centre
1 Graham Road,
Weston-s-Mare BS23 1YA Click here for more info



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