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Politics trumps good sense as EDF prepares to approve Hinkley Point C nuclear project

handing billions of energy bill payers money over to the French government for an outdated technology makes no business sense

Illustration of Hinkley Point C nuclear station. Image: EDF Energy/PAHinkley Point C nuclear project expected to get go-ahead next week EDF likely to greenlight construction of power plant in Somerset, providing boost to UK government amid Brexit fallout, Guardian, , 23 July, The Hinkley Point C nuclear project is poised to get the go-ahead from EDF next week in what will be a major boost to a new government trying to steady nerves on the economy after the British vote to leave the European Union last month.

A board meeting of the French energy group on Thursday 28 July is expected to give a final investment decision in favour of building new reactors in Somerset despite internal divisions over the £18bn scheme.

The decision has been repeatedly postponed, partly because of pressure from trade unionists on the board of the partly state-owned French group who claim EDF cannot afford the cost and risk of such a massive project in the UK.

But Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chief executive, has the support of the British government to press ahead with a scheme that represents an important shop window for selling nuclear technology and expertise worldwide.

EDF said it would discuss Hinkley Point C (HPC) – which involves building two so-called European pressurised reactors (EPR) – at its forthcoming board meeting and underlined the importance of building in Britain. “The HPC project is a major element of the group’s … strategy. The two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point would strengthen EDF’s presence in Britain, a country where its subsidiary EDF Energy already operates 15 nuclear reactors and is the largest electricity supplier by volume.”

EDF would not publicly commit itself to a decision in favour of the project, but nuclear industry sources said all company preparations were being made as if it was a done deal. “We are all expecting the go ahead next week,” the sources said.

The timing could not be better for the UK government, which regards Hinkley as a flagship energy scheme despite criticism from the City about its massive cost.

EDF insists it can build the project for £18bn but a complex system of subsidies agreed by the former chancellor, George Osborne, could cost the consumer up to £37bn, according to a recent estimate published on the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) website………

Critics remained vocal. “It’s right that the UK should remain open for business but handing billions of energy bill payers money over to the French government for an outdated technology makes no business sense,” said John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK.

“A possible final investment decision next week will only show that high-level post-truth politics trumps good sense. The type of reactor EDF wants to build at Hinkley hasn’t yet been shown to work.

“For UK bill payers, the rationale for a massively over-priced power station like Hinkley has long since disappeared but all the key players are too embarrassed to stop it.”………https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/22/hinkley-point-c-nuclear-project

July 23, 2016 - Posted by | France, politics, UK

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