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UK Ministers taking the public for fools, as they tout grandiose and delusional nuclear power schemes

 Betting on the French will not keep Britain’s lights on, EDF’s latest
Hinkley Point delay shows PM’s nuclear ambitions are divorced from

It is testament to the sheer incompetence of France’s
state-backed utility EDF that Hinkley Point C has become Britain’s most
radioactive construction project and it hasn’t even been built yet. In
fact, one wonders if it ever will be at this rate after yet more delays and
cost overruns.

For critics of atomic energy, Hinkley Point is the gift that
keeps on giving. For the rest of the country it remains laughably elusive.
After repeated setbacks, Britain’s first new plant in three decades was
already scheduled to be nine years overdue and £7bn over budget having
been pushed back to 2026, while estimated build costs had rocketed to

And now? An announcement from EDF, snuck out at 10pm on Thursday
night, reveals that the project has been delayed by another year at best,
and will cost a further £3bn, with Covid the excruciatingly predictable
excuse being provided. It is the fourth time that EDF has had to revise the
timetable and budget since construction began in October 2016.

At this point, any suggestion that the Prime Minister’s recently announced
ambition to build 24 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity, equivalent to
another six Hinkleys, each costing £20bn, have any chance of being
realised should be banished. Ministers are taking us for fools with these
grandiose yet delusional schemes.

Like so many of this Government’s plans
to transform important areas of the economy, Britain’s nuclear ambitions
are totally divorced from reality, and will remain so while we continue to
depend on the same unreliable partner with a risible track record of
delivering on its promises.

But it is in France where the major red flags can be found. EDF’s flagship Flamanville plant in
Normandy, which is being built using the same European Pressurised Reactors
(EPR) that are set to be deployed at Hinkley, was originally meant to come
on line in 2009. Instead, it won’t be ready until 2023, nearly a decade and
a half later than originally planned, and is £10bn over budget after costs
quadrupled from initial estimates in 2004.

Yet Flamanville is just one of
many plants where EDF is experiencing problems. The company has been forced
to launch a programme of checks on its entire fleet of 56 nuclear reactors
after the discovery of corrosion caused outages at some. A total of 12 are
offline, exacerbating a perilous financial squeeze as it prepares to
spearhead Emmanuel Macron’s plans to put nuclear power at the heart of
his country’s pursuit of carbon neutrality by 2050. And yet, incredibly,
EDF harbours ambitions to build another plant in the UK, at Sizewell C in

 Telegraph 21st May 2022


May 23, 2022 - Posted by | politics, UK

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