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Hinkley Point C – costs soar, delays again. UK govt’s big bet on nuclear is backfiring

The risks to the government’s plans to build another eight nuclear power
plants have been underlined by the latest wave of ballooning costs and
delays at Hinkley Point C. EDF, which is constructing the 3,200MW reactor
in Somerset, has warned that estimated costs have jumped to between £25
billion and £26 billion, while the power station will not now start
producing electricity until June 2027 at the earliest.

The revised estimates are £3 billion higher than the previous cost projections in
January last year, which were in turn well ahead of the group’s initial
£18 billion forecast when the project was approved in 2016.

Hinkley is Britain’s first new nuclear plant in decades. It is expected to power six
million homes, with the government guaranteeing that consumers pay an
index-linked £92.50 per megawatt hour, in 2012 prices, for its
electricity. Construction costs are being met by EDF and its junior partner
in the project, CGN of China.

Critics seized on the latest overruns to
point out the risks to Boris Johnson’s blueprint for another 24 gigawatts
of new nuclear power by 2050. The Stop Sizewell C lobby group pointed out
that, while EDF and CGN are on the hook for Hinkley’s “rocketing
costs”, a proposed new financing model would see consumers paying upfront
via higher bills for cost overruns.

“The £20 billion estimate for
Sizewell C is already two years out of date, with zero chance of it being
delivered at that cost,” it said, noting that the risk of spiralling
costs would “fall on consumers”. Doug Parr, Greenpeace’s UK policy
director, said: “The government’s big bet on nuclear is backfiring with
every extra billion added to the bill”. He advocated investment in
offshore wind instead. Costs at the prototype for Hinkley, the Flamanville
plant in France, have rocketed from €3.3 billion to €12.7 billion.
Construction is running more than a decade late. 

Times 20th May 2022 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/hinkley-point-c-nuclear-plant-to-open-a-decade-late-9vsk6w9zx

May 23, 2022 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK

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