As the dust settles on decommissioned Hinkley A and the curtain falls for the last time on soon to close Hinkley B, how are things going for the biggest building site in Europe, Hinkley C?
The prospect of Hinkley C riding to the rescue of a harassed electricity supply sector any time soon was always remote. The pie in the sky of a 2017 start was always laughable. Word from EdeF HQ in Paris had already put a damper on the rose tinted view from local EdeF sources that a 2025 start was on the cards. June 2026 was the official revised prediction. That was, of course, pre pandemic.
Paris, and Beijing, must be perturbed by the ripples that could reach Hinkley C from the fallout over the new submarines for Australia.
Locally, the project is struggling to get anywhere near its optimistic timescale.
There are 50 bus drivers needed to maintain the timetable for getting workers to the site.
Whilst it’s now been agreed that mud dredged from the sea can be dumped at Portishead, getting vocal Welsh protestors off EdeF’s back, there is still no agreement on how to stop the sea water intakes slaughtering the remaining fish in the Bristol Channel. EdeF want to do away with the Acoustic Fish Deterrent they proposed using. The Environment Agency want it kept. Now Planning Inspectors have to decide.
Back in February, EdeF announced that it wanted to put another 1,700 workers on site daily. Then it went into detailed negotiations with local Councils on how it would compensate for the extra pressure on housing, roads and local services. The fact that it’s now the middle of September and no white smoke has emerged indicates that this is proving, as with most things HPC, a harder nut to crack than the project optimists had anticipated.
New nuclear was never going to solve the country’s electricity supply problem, as coal and gas stations were rightly closed and old nuclear ran out of extensions. The Government’s failure to pump prime innovative schemes to generate electricity from the waves and tides that wash around our island day in, day out, is going to prove costly for us all.
Roy Pumfrey, Stop Hinkley, September 2021.