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France’s ruling socialist party calls for freeze on Hinkley Point nuclear development

text Hinkley cancelledflag-franceHinkley Point near melt-down as French socialist party calls for freeze, Telegraph,   Ambrose Evans-Pritchard 9 AUGUST 2016 Britain’s Hinkley Point nuclear project is close to unravelling after France’s ruling socialist party threw its support behind dissident trade union leaders and called for a fundamental review of the high-cost venture.

The whole saga has now become freighted with politics and misunderstandings in a three-way jostle between France, Britain, and China, with no outcome in sight that can please everybody.

The French socialists warned that Hinkley threatens the financial viability of EDF, the state-owned energy giant AREVA EDF crumblingresponsible for two thirds of the £18bn funding and for limitless liabilities if it all goes wrong.

“The socialist party judges that a project of such importance, that involves the solidity and survival of the national energy group, makes it imperative to ask every question and raise every reserve before going any further,” it said.

It endorsed a furious complaint by the six trade union members on the EDF board, who said the final go-ahead for the project was rammed through in late July without full disclosure in a “governance scandal”, and that the decision is now “null and void”.

Brexit has further changed the landscape and brought matters to a head. “The whole relationship with Britain, whether political or economic, must be reviewed in light of its withdrawal from the EU, and a project as important as Hinkley Point cannot reasonably be exempted,” said the party………

 from the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy in Beijing  said Hinkley was a flagship project for China and was hailed at the time as a break-through into the Western nuclear market. “President Xi Jinping himself promoted the project when he was in London and it became bigger than a mere contract. It has taken on symbolic meaning at a political level,” he said…….

Nuclear power cannot easily be switched on and off. It is ill-adapted for use as a back-up source to cover lulls in renewable power. “In a world moving towards cheaper, flexible, decentralized power systems, investing in eye-wateringly expensive, always-on ‘base-load’ plants increasingly looks like a 20th Century solution for a 21stCentury problem,” said Richard Black from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.

If the chief reason for continuing the project is to preserve good relations with France and China, the whole story is a textbook example of why it is hazardous to strike commercial deals with foreign state-owned companies. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/08/09/hinkley-point-near-melt-down-as-french-socialist-party-calls-for/

August 12, 2016 - Posted by | France, politics, politics international, UK

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