Flamanville safety issues could delay Hinkley investment, investors warn

Utility Week, 20 April 2015

The Flamanville reactor is currently under construction in France and has already drawn criticism for running over both its schedule and budget, but fresh concerns over a manufacturing element key to the reactor’s safety has provoked fresh concern in the UK over EDF’s plans for Hinkley.

According to reports the French nuclear authority has been informed of "manufacturing anomalies" resulting in a potential weakness in the steel used to make the safety casing around the reactor.

UK investors noted on Monday morning that the impact on EDF’s earnings and the cost of the Hinkley project are likely to be negligible. But analysts at RBC Capital added that it could result in further delays to the Hinkley Point final investment decision (FiD).

“There is a likely impact to the timing of the FiD.... In summary, this is very worrying, and the fact that EDF has not elaborated on the possible impact does not help,” said analysts at RBC Capital.

A spokesperson for EDF was not immediately available to comment.

But the Office for Nuclear Regulation said in a statement that lessons would need to be learnt in France before undertaking the UK project.

“We expect learning from Flamanville to be taken into account in the manufacture of components intended for the planned new reactor at Hinkley Point C,” the ONR said.

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Stop Hinkley
calls on EDF Energy to cut its losses on Hinkley Point C

17 April 2015

The future of the Hinkley Point C Project is hanging in the balance this week-end after further details emerged about problems at a similar nuclear plant being built at Flamanville in Normandy.

Anomalies have been found in the bottom and lid of the reactor vessel which could reduce the strength of the metal according to the French regulator ASN.
ASN says that a similar forging technique may have been used for the reactor vessels for Hinkley Point C, but Areva has not confirmed whether the Hinkley vessels have already been manufactured.

The Chinese have said they will not load fuel at the two EPR nuclear reactors under construction in the southern province of Guangdong which were designed by France's Areva until recent safety issues have been fully resolved. Parts of the Taishan 1 and 2 nuclear reactors were made by the same manufacturer that supplied the reactor vessel for EDF's EPR in Normandy.

It now seems inevitable that the Hinkley investment decision will be postponed yet again until the issue of the safety of the French and Chinese pressure vessels has been resolved.

Stop Hinkley Spokesperson, Alan Jeffery said: “EDF Energy should cut its losses and give up on Hinkley C now, so that the south-west can get on with developing a sensible sustainable energy strategy. To tackle Climate Change effectively we need to get started on energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes now, not waiting around for the nuclear industry to sort out its problems first. We don’t need this massive project that is going to leave us with a legacy of highly dangerous nuclear waste and radioactive emissions into our environment.”

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A group from Stop Hinkley went to Brussels to protest against the subsidy for Hinkley C. We were joined by representatives of anti-nuclear groups from many other countries including Austria, Holland, Belgium and Germany. The demo took place outside the EU headquarters and our Euro MP Molly Scott Cato joined the list of speakers who inspired us.

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.

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 20-Apr-2015

09 Mar 2015
Hinkley Point: the Beginning of the End
Jonathon Porritt always said that the two proposed new reactors at Hinkley Point would never get built. Now he's not just saying it: he's absolutely convinced that they’ll never get built.
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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.



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