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Court reveals that EDF deceived UK about the true financial risks of Hinkley Point nuclear project

EDF boss suppressed report calling Hinkley Point ‘risky’Adam Sage, The Times, 10 July 20, thetimes.co.uk/article/edf-boss-suppressed-report-calling-hinkley-point-risky-gd5vcdhrx

The Times reports that the chief executive of the French company building the UK’s new nuclear reactors won boardroom approval for the project after suppressing an internal review labelling it as risk-laden. In a “highly critical report on the European Pressurised Reactors”, France’s Court of Audit said that the Hinkley Point project in Somerset, led by EDF, represented a “high financial risk” for the French state electricity group, the Times adds.

The court uncovered that the risks had been pointed out in a 2015 review that warned there “were not efficient enough to guarantee that risks would be controlled”. The Times continues: “The court said that Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF’s executive chairman, had ‘refused to transmit the full report’ to directors or the government, even though the state has an 83.7% stake. They received only a synopsis.” The project received approval from the EDF board in 2016. The court also said that EDF must establish the financing and profitability of nuclear reactors before launching projects, reports Reuters, “dealing a blow to the state-owned utility’s ambitions to build new units”. And Reuters also reports that nuclear power generation at its reactors in France plunged 25.1% in June (compared to 2019) due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, writing in the Daily Telegraph, Sir Iain Duncan-Smith – MP and former leader of the Conservative Party – argues that the UK should “unwind its dependence on China” for “cheap goods and nuclear power”. He says: “The UK has enormous home grown tidal power potential, yet both tidal and hydrogen seem to have been brushed aside in favour of our growing dependence on large Chinese-run nuclear projects.” He concludes: “From Huawei to hydrogen and Hong Kong, we need to recognise the strategic threat China poses and, together with our allies, decide what we will do to reduce it, otherwise we risk repeating the failed lessons of the past.” And also in the Daily Telegraph, chief city commentator Ben Marlow says that the government should be stimulating manufacturing demand to contain the damage caused by Covid-19 to Rolls Royce – “Britain’s most illustrious engineering company”. He says: “It should start with nuclear where enlisting the expertise of Rolls-Royce in building so-called mini-nukes would help to solve its current geo-political nightmare with China. It would make it easier to ditch China General Nuclear Power Group from the plans to build giant new plants at Sizewell on the Suffolk coast and Bradwell in Essex, or scrap the proposals altogether.” These decisions would “also offer a greener and cheaper alternative to a technology that looks decidedly out of date already, and it would create jobs at a company in desperate need of a leg up – three birds with one stone”.

July 11, 2020 - Posted by | business and costs, France, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK

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