STOP PRESS

Stop Hinkley says a Final Investment Decision for Hinkley Point C would be little more than spin as problems mount for nuclear delusion

26th July 2016

Ahead of an expected Final Investment Decision (FID) by EDF's Board on Thursday (28th July) Stop Hinkley has written to the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, to ask him to stamp his own mark on energy policy by ditching proposals for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C. (See here)

Stop Hinkley Spokesperson Allan Jeffery said: “Now even the financial press says Hinkley Point C has become a laughing stock.

The cost keeps rising while the cost of renewables is falling rapidly, and the potential to make savings with energy efficiency is huge. We could replace Hinkley much more quickly and cheaply without the safety fears and without producing dangerous waste we don't know what to do with”.

EDF seems to be hoping that by acting swiftly after Greg Clark's appointment as Secretary of State, it can minimise the risk that the highly favourable terms struck in 2013 to help to bankroll the station are watered down. Above all, EDF's most cherished sweetener is a guaranteed price of an index-linked £92.50 per megawatt hour in 2012 prices – now worth around £100/MWh.

Allan Jeffery said: “If the Company does indeed make a positive Final Investment Decision on Thursday it will be little more than EDF spin. The largely French Government-owned company has a long list of problems to sort out before construction can begin. EDF says there will no concrete poured until at least mid-2019 and this will depend on the start-up of the EPR (the European Pressurised Reactor) at Flamanville, scheduled for the end of 2018 – six years late.”

First the EPR design has not yet been built successfully anywhere in the world.

It has been described by a nuclear engineering professor as ‘unconstructable'.

In France concerns over the safety of the reactor pressure vessel at Flamanville have arisen after tests "revealed the presence of a zone in which there was a high carbon concentration, leading to lower than expected mechanical toughness values". Further tests will continue until the end of this year. The French safety regulator ASN is making no promises about what remedial action might be required. In the worst case scenario the entire project may need to be abandoned.

And secondly EDF doesn't have the money to pay for it. As this week's Board meeting was being announced French finance authorities were raiding the offices of EDF as part of a probe into EDF's disclosure of information to the market.

Investigators are said to be concerned about the reporting of its domestic nuclear maintenance costs as well as the plans to develop new nuclear reactors in Somerset .

EDF is a company in a very precarious financial situation. It has €37 billion of debt. The collapse in energy prices has pushed earnings down 68% in 2015. The Company needs to spend €50 billion upgrading its network of 58 ageing reactors by 2025. It is scrambling to sell €4 billion of new shares and €10 billion of assets to strengthen its balance sheet. EDF is also expected to participate in the €5 billion bailout of Areva, the bankrupt developer of EPR technology, by taking a 75 per cent stake. About the last thing that it needs is a new €15 billion millstone around its neck.

The European Union has opened a State Aid investigation into the French Government's rescue plan for Areva. And any French government financial support to EDF to enable the company to build the Hinkley Point C will almost certainly be blocked by the European Commission, according to a legal opinion commissioned by Greenpeace.

Two legal challenges: firstly from Austria and Luxembourg, and secondly from a group of German renewable energy companies at the European court of justice against the European Commission decision to allow to subsidise Hinkley Point C have yet to be resolved.

Jeffery continued: “If this plant goes ahead highly radioactive waste would be stored in the heart of Somerset for perhaps the next 200 years. Over its lifetime Hinkley Point C will produce waste equivalent to 80% of all the waste so far produced in the UK in terms of radioactivity – for what? So the Government can help its friends in the nuclear industry put the brakes on the renewable energy revolution taking place across the globe – they really do make King Canute look like an amateur.”

“The Government's nuclear delusions are standing in the way of the West of England joining this energy revolution. Nuclear advocates can't bring themselves to admit that smart, efficient and renewable energy systems are sounding the death-knell of nuclear power. It's time that Somerset was given the opportunity to catch-up.”

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NB. The Stop Hinkley Campaign will be protesting against the Final Investment Decision in King's Square Bridgwater 10am-1pm on Thursday 28th July

STOP PRESS

Vivienne Westwood becomes Stop Hinkley Patron

With EDF Energy's plans to build two massive new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset looking ever more precarious, Dame Vivienne Westwood DBE has announced that she will become a patron of the Stop Hinkley Campaign.

The French Trade Unions have declared that they remain convinced the Hinkley project should be postponed until a litany of problems has been solved, and there is increasing speculation that the project will be ditched after the Brexit vote. Now Stop Hinkley is re-doubling its efforts to ensure that this foolhardy scheme is cancelled as soon as possible.

Fashion designer and activist, Vivienne Westwood said: “Hinkley Point C is not a solution to the climate change problem. It will simply trap us into the same system that gave us fossil fuels. We need a different sort of economy - a fair economy founded on true human values, and cheap and infinite sustainable energy.”

She continued: “Climate change is a global emergency. We can't wait around while the big utilities build an expensive and dangerous nuclear plant, which is late and over-budget. We need to start building a sustainable energy system now. I tell my customers ‘Buy Less – Choose Well'. We need to do the same with energy. Our priority should be saving energy first. It is perfectly feasible, quicker and cheaper, to replace all the proposed nuclear stations by reducing our energy consumption.”

Stop Hinkley spokesperson Roy Pumfrey says: “Vivienne Westwood is a welcome addition to our growing list of patrons. She will be helping us to spearhead a drive for new members. Unlike Government Ministers, she understands that nuclear power is seriously damaging our efforts to tackle climate change. The campaign against the white elephant Hinkley Point C project is going from strength to strength.”

The Stop Hinkley Campaign's other patrons are:

•  Jonathon Porritt – environmental campaigner
•  Molly Scott Cato – Green Party MEP
•  Caroline Lucas – Green Party MP
•  Raymond Briggs – author
•  Julie Christie - actor
•  Terry Jones – of Monty Python
•  John Williams - musician

Please support Stop Hinkley. The larger our membership is, the louder our voice.

The suggested annual subscription is £12 for an individual (£5 unwaged) or £20 for a family. We ask you to donate as much as you feel able, but whatever you give, however small, is gratefully received.

To join:

  • Or send your name and address to Vivienne Westwood, c/o 259 Burntwood Lane, London SW17 0AW [with optional donation]

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STOP PRESS

UK newspapers are reporting that a decision on Hinkley nuclear plant will be made Thursday 28 July

PLEASE ACT NOW.

Hinkley is set to become the most expensive object on earth.  If it goes ahead, billions of pounds will be channelled into a nuclear plant which is shaping up to be a national embarrassment, when the money could otherwise be invested in safer, cheaper renewable energy.

Chancellor Hammond is already under huge pressure over Hinkley.  Security analysts have warned against the project.  Energy experts have said building the nuclear plant will be the ‘worst ever' deal.  And more than 100,000 of us have signed a huge petition calling for Hinkley to be scrapped.

If we can get our MPs to speak out at this crucial moment too, it could be enough to can Hinkley once and for all. Please urgently write to your MP and urge them to ask the new Chancellor to drop Hinkley nuclear plant. 

Greenpeace have just launched a web page that makes it easy for you to email your MP about Hinkley.  It's online click here -

 










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Page Updated 27-Jul-2016



Hinkley Point C –
A Tale of Nuclear Dreams!

Some dreams come true; others turn to disaster and turn into nightmares. Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has been a dream to many politicians, is it about to come true?
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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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Patrons:
Raymond Briggs
Julie Christie
Terry Jones
Caroline Lucas MP
Jonathon Porritt
Molly Scott Cato MEP
Vivienne Westwood
John Williams