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EDF approved UK Hinkley nuclear project, but now there’s a new delay

text Hinkley cancelledflag-UKHinkley nuclear plant faces fresh delay after EDF approves investment, Ft.com 28 July 16
Ministers announce new review immediately after EDF gives green light to £18bn project  
The plan to build an £18bn nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point was hit with a last-gasp delay on Thursday night as the government decided to hold a new review hours after EDF, the project’s French developer, gave it the go-ahead.

Greg Clark, the business and energy secretary, announced that ministers would once more review the project almost immediately after the EDF board had narrowly voted to approve the scheme.

He 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.”

 Successive British governments have supported the scheme but Theresa May, the new prime minister, has never given it her personal backing. Mrs May met François Hollande, the French president, last week, and the pair discussed the project.

One person said the scheme was expected to proceed after the review but the fresh delay had been a surprise.

The news came after EDF had given the go-ahead for the UK’s first nuclear power plant in 20 years, approving the Hinkley Point scheme at a board meeting on Thursday.

Directors approved the long-delayed project during a meeting in Paris. But opposition from within the company was underlined by the resignation in protest of a board member as the meeting started. The board was more divided than had been expected…….

critics say the project could also risk the financial future of EDF, the highly indebted French utility, whose chief financial officer Thomas Piquemal quit in March, warning that its future was being put in danger by Hinkley Point.

The scheme has been subject to multiple delays and budget revisions since first being proposed in the mid-2000s as part of what Tony Blair’s government promised would be a “nuclear renaissance” for the UK.

New reactors are also being planned in north Wales and in Cumbria, while EDF wants to help develop two sites after Hinkley Point — at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex.

EDF had hoped to take the final investment decision earlier this year but it was postponed amid growing opposition from board members and executives.

That opposition persisted until the end, despite the company’s decision to push ahead with the scheme. As the meeting got under way, Gérard Magnin quit as a state representative on EDF’s board, calling the company’s nuclear strategy “highly risky”.

In the end, the vote was carried by 10 to 7. It was closer than expected, with all six union representatives and one shareholder representative voting against the measure.

Ministers in the UK must now give their final sign-off to the scheme, having already agreed to pay £92.50 — double the current wholesale price — for each megawatt hour of electricity it produces for 35 years………https://next.ft.com/content/181077e2-54dc-11e6-befd-2fc0c26b3c60

July 29, 2016 - Posted by | politics, UK

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