Chaos over £18bn Hinkley nuclear plant.

The government stunned the energy industry by announcing a further review of the Hinkley Point nuclear power station hours after EDF, the French state electricity giant, approved the project. Executives at EDF had been expecting the government to sign a subsidy deal connected to the £18 billion plant in Somerset today. Greg Clark, the business and energy secretary, said that he needed until September to study the subsidy contract. Mr Clark said: "The UK needs a reliable and secure energy supply and the government believes that nuclear energy is an important part of the mix. The government will now consider carefully all the component parts of this project and make its decision in the early autumn." Industry sources tried to calm fears. "If it is a delay only until September then it's not very significant, given that was when we're expecting a decision to be taken anyway," one suggested. "Until last week we weren't expecting anything this side of the summer. and there has been a lot happening over the last few weeks." Opponents seized on the British government's statement to call on ministers to halt the project. John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, said: "Theresa May now has a chance to stop this radioactive white elephant in its tracks. She should look at the evidence and see that this deal would be a monumental disaster for taxpayers and bill payers. The UK needs to invest in safe, reliable renewable power. "The government should be embracing new innovative technologies that are powering northern European countries already and coming down in price every year. "We don't want to be left behind and locked into an old-fashioned nuclear power plant that isn't working anywhere in the world and isn't fit for the 21st century."

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STOP HINKLEY PRESS RELEASE

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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STOP HINKLEY PRESS RELEASE

Government Hinkley Point C review a wonderful opportunity to declare Somerset the sustainable energy hub for England

3 Aug 2016

It has now been a few days since the Government shocked the energy industry by announcing a further review of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station just a few hours after EDF approved the project.

Although we may never know exactly what has gone on behind the scenes it is clear that EDF had moved its final investment decision forward from September in order to bounce the new UK Government into giving its approval quickly before mounting problems become even more obvious to everyone.

Stop Hinkley spokesperson, Roy Pumfrey said: “Much of the media seems to think this is just a temporary pause and that Hinkley Point C will eventually go ahead, but if Theresa May gives this scheme just a cursory glance she will see that we are being asked to buy a pig in a poke.”

According to the Financial Times the head of EDF, Jean-Bernard Lévy gave his fellow board members only two days to read 2,500 pages of contracts for a deal which one investment analyst described as “verging on insanity”.

The decision to review the project has been attributed by some to security concerns about Chinese involvement in the sector expressed by Mrs May's chief of staff, Nick Timothy. The Stop Hinkley Campaign has itself expressed concerns in the past about making nuclear deals with a country with such a poor health and safety record.

Perhaps of more immediate concern is that a go-ahead for Hinkley could threaten the future of the company itself. EDF is a company in a very precarious financial situation. The ratings agency, S&P, postponed a decision to downgrade its credit rating when the UK Government announced the review. EDF 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 it needs is a new €15 billion millstone around its neck.

Roy Pumfrey said “The EDF Board should take the opportunity presented by this pause to see that its Nuclear SatNav has taken the Company down a dead end; it's only a matter of time before we hear that voice saying ‘At the next opportunity, turn round!'"

Over recent months Stop Hinkley has detailed several different alternative to building Hinkley Point C. And just yesterday consultancy firm Utilitywise has described the proposed nuclear station as an “unnecessary expense” - energy efficiency measures could save the equivalent amount of electricity along with £12bn.

Roy Pumfrey said: “This Government review of Hinkley Point C provides us with a wonderful opportunity to turn Somerset into a sustainable energy hub for England . The alternatives would be better for jobs, better for consumers, would reduce the mountain of dangerous waste we don't know how to deal with and save Somerset from a decade of disruption caused by one of the biggest construction projects in the world. The sooner EDF and the UK Government come to their senses the better.”

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PLEASE ACT NOW

The UK government is overseeing plans to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley in Somerset. The power plant's already 8 years overdue. And by the time it's finished it'll be the most expensive object on earth.

But right now we've an urgent chance to get Hinkley canned once and for all.

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 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 03-Aug-2016

STOP HINKLEY PRESS RELEASE

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.

Or send your name and address to Vivienne Westwood, c/o 259 Burntwood Lane, London SW17 0AW [with optional donation payable to Stop Hinkley]
Or donate via PayPal to admin@stophinkley.org

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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
Dame Vivienne Westwood
John Williams