The saga of Hinkley Point C: Europe 's key nuclear decision

21 August 2014

Will EDF with Chinese backing build a new third-generation nuclear power plant in the U.K., and if so under what conditions? The answer to this question will be vital to the future of the European energy sector. And a great deal will depend on the European Commission, which is expected to decide any moment whether the U.K. 's agreement with EDF will be allowed under EU State Aid rules. In the World Nuclear  Industry Status Report 2014, an annual independent assessment of the global nuclear industry, Steve Thomas, Mycle Schneider and Antony Patrick Froggatt tell the remarkable saga of Hinkley Point C as it has developed until today.

The U.K. government promised from the start that nuclear power would be competitive with gas-fired generation and, as a result, any new nuclear orders would receive no public subsidies and, implicitly, would compete in the competitive British wholesale electricity market on equal terms with other generators.

What was particularly eye-catching about the initial publicity in surrounding the attempt to re-launch nuclear ordering in the U.K. was the very optimistic forecasts of the commercial and economic viability of new nuclear orders. Following the failure to privatize the British nuclear power plants and the lack of nuclear orders for electricity markets that had been opened to competition, the conventional wisdom was that, even if the price of power from nuclear plants were expected to be competitive with the cheapest options, nuclear would not be chosen because financiers would not be prepared to bear the economic risks associated with building nuclear.

By 2006, the original cost claims for a “nuclear renaissance”, first talked about from 1998 onwards, for example that nuclear could be built for less than US$1000/kW, a price expected to make nuclear competitive with natural gas generation, had already been proved unrealistic. The claim that, in Britain , nuclear plants would be ordered on the basis that they would be able to compete in the market with the cheapest alternatives and would be offered no public subsidies was therefore remarkable. All that would be required were a few “enabling” measures such as making suitable sites available, carrying out a Generic Design Appraisal (GDA) process and putting a cap on the cost of radioactive waste disposal. [See right]

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Stop Hinkley calls on EDF Energy to give up on obsolete Hinkley Point C

28 Aug 2014

The Stop Hinkley Campaign has called on EDF Energy to give up its nuclear ambitions following a report from giant multinational investment bank, UBS, which declares that it is “ time to join the [solar] revolution”.

UBS says large centralised power stations, like the proposed £16 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station could be obsolete with 10 to 20 years. Large power stations will soon become extinct because they are too big and inflexible, and are “not relevant” for future electricity generation, according to the bank.

And yet, if the European Commission gives the deal between the UK Government and EDF Energy the go-ahead consumers could be paying for these redundant reactors until around 2060.

Instead UBS says solar energy costs have fallen rapidly and the technology is now on the verge of being competitive without subsidies. Battery costs are declining fast and electric vehicles will soon cost the same as conventional cars. The Bank expects home solar systems, small-scale home battery technology and an electric car to be a sensible investment for consumers in much of Europe by 2020.

The UBS report follows similar analysis by other large financial institutions and energy experts who expect new solar and renewable technologies to drive rapid change in large scale utility companies.

Stop Hinkley spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said: “EDF Energy needs to give up now before it wastes any more of the £16 billion cost of building Hinkley Point C. At the rapid rate of change in small-scale renewable energy technologies the nuclear reactors will be obsolete before they are built or very soon after, but consumers will be forced to keep paying for these redundant white elephants.

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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.

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013
Two years after the Fukushima disaster started unfolding on 11 March 2011, its impact on the global nuclear industry has become increasingly visible. This World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013 provides a global overview of the history, the current status and the trends of nuclear power programs worldwide.

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Page Updated 28-Aug-2014


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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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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