EDF Demolishes Historic Buildings at Hinkley Point Nuclear Site as Investors Abandon Ship

9 April 2012

French energy company EDF is continuing to destroy historic buildings at Hinkley Point in Somerset even though its chances of constructing a new nuclear power station there are looking increasingly fragile, the Stop Hinkley campaign warned today.

The buildings demolished so far include Langborough Farm, a nineteenth century farmhouse with a yard and barns (see photos attached). The farm was occupied for two weeks in February by people protesting at the developer's decision to go ahead with clearing the land – despite the fact that they do not yet have permission to construct the proposed reactors.

Contractors Keir Bam, working for EDF, are also removing trees, clearing ground and erecting new security fences. The developers plan to block all public rights of way over the next few weeks, stopping walkers from accessing all but one footpath across the 400 acre stretch of countryside.

The chances of a new power station being built at Hinkley Point have receded dramatically following a number of recent decisions by large power companies to walk away from plans for UK nuclear investments.

  • The two large German power companies E.ON and RWE last week abandoned plans to build nuclear power stations at Wylfa in Wales and Oldbury in Gloucestershire because they couldn't raise the finance. The decision was described by a spokesman for trade union GMB as “a devastating blow which leaves the UK government energy strategy in tatters” (1).

  • Scottish power company Scottish and Southern has already withdrawn from the NuGen consortium proposing a nuclear power station in Cumbria, preferring to concentrate on renewable investments (2).

  • British Gas parent company Centrica, which has a 20% stake in EDF's nuclear consortium, is considering walking away from the venture (3). As a result, US credit rating agency Moody's could downgrade the status of EDF, making it more expensive to borrow funding for the £10 billion Hinkley project (4).

The financial risks involved in nuclear new build have been further underlined by two recent reports from four former directors of Friends of the Earth, including Jonathon Porritt, and consultancy Energy Fair, which warn the UK government of the potential for cost over-runs and extensive hidden subsidies (5).

“The chances of EDF successfully financing the Hinkley C reactors are looking weaker by the day,” said Stop Hinkley spokesman Crispin Aubrey. “Yet they are still going ahead with destroying buildings and razing the landscape. This is the worst type of vandalism.”

Ends/

For more information: Crispin Aubrey, Stop Hinkley Press Officer (0792 052 3673 or 01278 732921)

 

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Notes:

1 "Germans pull the plug on UK's nuclear power plans”, The Times, 30 March 2012.
2 "SSE sells nuclear stake for initial £5.75m”, Business Green, 17 Feb 2012.
3 "Energy giant EDF prepares for nuclear future without Centrica”, Independent, 1 April 2012.
4 UK nuclear programme is at risk in Moody's credit alert”, This is Money, 7 April 2012.
5 See
www.jonathonporritt.com, www.tomburke.co.uk and www.energyfair.org.uk

 

 

 

Page Updated 15-Apr-2012