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UK government’s commitment to nuclear power wavering, as Hinkley Point C’s costs and delays escalate?

EDF’s reactor for its first nuclear plant in the UK for 30 years arrives by
ship. While the arrival of the reactor could be a positive signal that
progress is being made on the nuclear rollout, some critics say that new
nuclear power will not come online soon enough to ease the current energy
bill crisis.

Hinkley Point C, for instance, is not expected to finish
construction until 2026 at the earliest. Meanwhile, energy bills are at
record highs and the Government has been urged to find a way to quickly
ease the burden of high energy costs.

Hinkley Point C’s repeated delays
have raised concerns as the Government has appeared to hedge its bets on
nuclear. The Somerset project was initially meant supposed to start
producing electricity by 2017 at a cost of £18billion. Now expected to cost
£32billion, the delays have thrown into question whether building more
nuclear plants is an appropriate response to the energy crisis.

speaking to, Dr Paul Dorfman, Associate Fellow SPRU
University of Sussex, explained: “The fact is, EDF EPR reactor design costs
have ramped everywhere it’s built with massive delays.”

Express 27th Feb 2023


March 2, 2023 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

New Atomic Hell Arrives at Hinkley While The Nuclear Industry Calls Itself Clean and Folk are Directed to Campaign Elsewhere. — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

Article from The Construction Index Hinkley Point C’s first reactor arrives on site [– with video]  The first new nuclear reactor for a British power station for more than 30 years has arrived in Somerset. With the cranes of Hinkley Point C in the background, the 500-tonne load completes the last few miles of its […]

New Atomic Hell Arrives at Hinkley While The Nuclear Industry Calls Itself Clean and Folk are Directed to Campaign Elsewhere. — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

February 28, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point Nuclear is really a colossal miscalculation of risk management.

Costs Continue To Rise For Hinkley Point Nuclear Megaproject

Or was this another legacy project of the Tories’ whose main desire was to protect Britain from the labor militancy of  British coal miners whose last bitter, year long strike ended in 1985? From what we can tell, the UK government simply wanted a new nuclear power generating station period—more likely for national prestige—and not a discussion of alternatives, or the risks incurred by builders, or the financial consequences imposed on consumers by this decision.

Oil Price. com, By Leonard Hyman & William Tilles – Feb 22, 2023,

  • The cost estimation for Great Britain’s Hinkley point C nuclear power plant has effectively doubled from 2016 to 2023.
  • Hinkley Point is really a colossal miscalculation of risk management.
  • The Hinkley point C project shows that the single asset concentration risk is too high for the utility company in question.

For close to a decade, Great Britain’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power project has served as the go-to punching bag for anti-nuclear activists. Sure enough, the gift that keeps giving has furnished still another reason to be chary of big nuclear projects.

Background for those not in the know. The current Hinkley Point nuclear project was the brainchild of British energy planners in the early 2000s. Their goal was to build another big nuclear plant at an existing site. Several actually. French state-controlled EDF took on the task with big British energy supplier Centrica as a minority owner. But Centrica soon backed out due to the escalating costs. EDF brought in a Chinese state company as a replacement partner. The UK government signed an agreement guaranteeing that the unit would collect a generous price for power generated (an insanely high price according to one critic at the time). In 2016, the project commenced with an estimated cost of £16-17 billion.

Oilprice readers will not be surprised that these costs kept rising. In February 2023, EDF estimated that the final cost would be close to £33 billion ($40 billion), a 100% increase versus the initial estimated cost to completion. The Chinese partner may not agree to further investments beyond those initially agreed to so EDF could be exposed to even higher costs. With the completion date set for 2027, should we expect more increases? 

The news stories cite inflation as a primary reason for the cost increases. But the UK’s construction price index rose 40% between 2016 and 2023, while the estimated cost of the nuclear plant almost doubled. One distinguished economist noted that the plant would have cost far less if the government had financed it, but that is another matter. 

Hinkley Point is really a colossal miscalculation of risk management. Start with this statistic. The Hinkley Point project investment to date equals roughly one-fifth of the enterprise value of EDF. There are 56 other nuclear plants in EDF’s portfolio. One of the lessons learned by most US utilities after the Three Mile Island accident was that big nuclear plants and relatively small electric utilities are not a good match. In technical terms, the single asset concentration risk is too high. One might argue that EDF is big enough to take the chance, but that is clearly not so.  

Then there is the matter of whether the British government worked out its aims and the risks of the various solutions. Why did the UK need this nuclear project? To protect against the insecurity of foreign energy supplies? Wind turbines, solar and domestic natural gas would do that.  Or was it the main goal of policy makers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? In this at least they may prove successful but there are much cheaper alternatives. Consider as an alternative weatherproofing all those damp and cold council houses which were designed to be drafty due to earlier pandemics and worries about gas safety. That would have saved a lot of energy and reduced the need for the project.

Or was this another legacy project of the Tories’ whose main desire was to protect Britain from the labor militancy of  British coal miners whose last bitter, year long strike ended in 1985? From what we can tell, the UK government simply wanted a new nuclear power generating station period—more likely for national prestige—and not a discussion of alternatives, or the risks incurred by builders, or the financial consequences imposed on consumers by this decision.

This brings us to our final point. Hinkley Point C is a classic giant project, a category of construction brilliantly analyzed by British analysts in the 1980s. It is a huge effort that will take years to complete, requires a guess at market demand years from the date of inception, and once complete and in service will have a big impact on the market all at once when completed. In addition, this project involves many different owners and contractors, domestic and international, plus multiple national governments and requires the owner/builder to finance a project whose failure might have disastrous financial consequences for it. In other words, the project entails taking not only many risks but big ones. So why didn’t they consider alternatives first before plunging in?………………

February 23, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yet another £6 billion cost hike for UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear project

Hinkley C’s £6bn cost hike tests UK’s nuclear resolve. A further £6 billion
cost increase at Hinkley Point C will test the government’s commitment to
funding future large-scale nuclear projects, according to energy industry

The figure was revealed alongside EDF’s accounts last week, with
construction of the 3.2GW power plant now estimated to cost as much as
£32.7 billion. That is a £6 billion increase on the revised construction
price set last year and is almost double the £18 billion figure set in 2016
when EDF first started work on the project.

The latest cost hike has been
attributed to rising inflation, however engineering problems and complex
ground conditions have previously pushed the cost up, as well as a £500
million cost increase due to Covid-19 and pandemic-related working

Utility Week 21st Feb 2023

February 22, 2023 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Spiralling cost of Hinkley Point C nuclear station

 Cost of Hinkley Point nuclear plant backed by France, China spirals to
US$38.5 billion. EDF and its partner in the project, China General Nuclear
Power, will be asked to provide additional funding, but it’s unlikely the
Chinese will agree.

EDF saidElectricite de France said the cost of building
its flagship Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in the UK is set to
spiral further to £32 billion (US$38.5 billion). Higher levels of
inflation have pushed up the estimated spend on the plant, the French
energy giant said in a presentation published alongside its annual results.

The revised estimate is the latest indication of surging costs after the
start of plant was delayed last year. In May, EDF raised the price tag to
build the two reactors at Hinkley to £25 billion (US$30 billion) and £26
billion (US$31 billion).

 South China Morning Post 18th Feb 2023

February 20, 2023 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Fear for fish: EDF plan for Hinkley project means ‘enormous tragedy’ for ecosystem

 Former US President George W. Bush Snr may have famously said that ‘the
human being and fish can coexist peacefully’, but the UK/Ireland Nuclear
Free Local Authorities believe that EDF Energy’s plan to scrap the
commitment to install acoustic fish deterrents at its new Hinkley Point C
plant will end that peaceful co-existence with billions of fish being

Responding to a public consultation launched recently by the
Environment Agency seeking views on a proposal by French nuclear power
developer EDF Energy to scrap the deterrent mechanism at Hinkley,
Councillor David Blackburn, Chair of the NFLA English Forum called it an
‘enormous tragedy’.

A plant like Hinkley Point C ‘hoovers up’
millions of gallons of water daily to cool its reactors, discharging the
heated water back out to sea. Unfortunately, with the intake of the water
will come the fish, and although EDF is proposing to install some
mechanisms to prevent the ingress of fish and marine life into the plant,
it has consistently made plain its opposition to the installation of
acoustic fish deterrents.

Councillor Blackburn is, like local campaigners,
concerned that without Acoustic Fish Deterrents, alongside other measures
for marine life preservation, millions of fish will be killed every day,
and the group Stop Hinkley, which is opposed to the construction of the
plant, has estimated that up to 11 billion fish could die through
operations there over the course of its expected 60-year lifespan.

 NFLA 7th Feb 2023

February 9, 2023 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

Campaigners claim permit change at Hinkley Point would kill billions of fish.

West Somerset Free Press,  6th February 2023 

ANTI-nuclear campaigners have estimated 11 billion fish off the West Somerset coastline could be killed during the operating life of the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

The Stop Hinkley group said the slaughter would arise if EDF was allowed to ‘wriggle out’ of planning conditions which required acoustic fish deterrents (AFDs) to be fitted to water intake heads.

EDF has to date refused to fit the AFDs and is consulting the Environment Agency (EA) with a view to trying to have the condition dropped.

Stop Hinkley spokeswoman Katy Attwater said the 11 billion figure was calculated over the 60-year lifespan of Hinkley C.

She said affected common fish species would include river lamprey, twaite shad, sprat, herring and the common goby, while rarer species which would be killed included salmon, cod, anchovy, John dory, crucian carp, silver bream, and sea lamprey.

Ms Attwater said the fish migrated from the Bristol Channel to nine main rivers, the Ely, Taff, Rhymney, Ebbw, Usk, Wye, Severn, Avon, and Parrett.

She said particularly hard hit would be the elver migration from the Atlantic, with eels being sucked into the Hinkley intakes and only comparatively few making it to the Somerset Levels and other rivers, which would be their homes for the next 20 years before their return journey past the intake heads to travel back to their Sargasso Sea breeding grounds.

Ms Attwater said EDF’s request three years ago to not have to install the AFDs was rejected by the Environment Agency, a public inquiry, and DEFRA Secretary George Eustice.

“Yet, EDF are still trying to wriggle out of it and waste all the time, money, and effort spent by the EA, the Severn Estuary interest groups, and DEFRA to defend one of the most important breeding grounds for British fish,” she said.

The estuary is a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation(SAC) and has been given an internationally important Ramsar site designation………………………………………….

The Environment Agency has launched a five-week consultation on the proposed change to the Water Discharge Activity permit.

February 6, 2023 Posted by | oceans, UK | Leave a comment

Taking up Hilda’s Torch: Robert Green’s account of his contribution to the 1988/9 Hinkley C Inquiry.

4th February 2023

This is an interesting insight both into the Inquiry and the background to nuclear power in the UK.  The information and comments are as relevant today as they were all those years ago. TakingUpHildasTorch.

Hilda Murrell (born in 1906) was a British rose grower, naturalist, diarist and campaigner against nuclear power and nuclear weapons.  She was murdered in 1984 in disputed circumstances.

Having predicted the 1973 oil crisis, Murrell became increasingly concerned by the hazards posed by nuclear energy and weapons. She began to research this highly technical field and in 1978 wrote a paper entitled “What Price Nuclear Power?” in which she challenged the economics of the civil nuclear industry.  After the 1979 US accident at Three Mile Island, she turned her attention to safety aspects and homed in on the problem of radioactive waste, the disposal of which she concluded was the industry’s Achilles’ heel.

In 1982 the Department of the Environment published a white paper on the British Government’s policy on radioactive waste management.  Murrell, now in her late 70s, wrote a critique of it which she developed into her submission “An Ordinary Citizen’s View of Radioactive Waste Management” to the first formal planning inquiry into a nuclear power plant in Britain, the Sizewell B Pressurised Water Reactor in Suffolk.

She was scheduled to present her paper at the Sizewell B Inquiry, but on 21 March 1984 her home in Shrewsbury was burgled and a small amount of cash was taken.  She was then abducted in her own car.  Though the vehicle was soon reported abandoned in a country lane five miles outside Shrewsbury, the Police took another three days to find her body in a copse across a field from her car.  Who killed her – and why – has been the subject of books and films.  The conviction in 2005 of a man for her abduction and murder failed to answer many of the questions surrounding her death.

The reasons for this enduring enquiry are exposed at length in ‘A Thorn In Their Side’, a book published in 2012.  The author is Hilda’s nephew, Robert Green, with whom she had a close relationship and who was a commander in naval intelligence during the Falklands war. He has followed and chronicled the case meticulously.

Was this just a random, bungled burglary by a lone 16-year-old – as the police would have it – or was it an operation involving several individuals on behalf of a government agency, namely the security services?  Read more: The Guardian March 2012

Also see:

February 6, 2023 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Campaigners fear changes at Hinkley Point C ‘could kill millions of fish every day’

By, January 27, 2023

Campaigners fear millions of fish could be killed every day by the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station near Burnham-On-Sea if owner EDF is allowed to back out of a planning condition.

The Stop Hinkley anti-nuclear group has said this week that EDF Energy had refused to fit acoustic fish deterrents on its two off-shore massive cooling water intake heads.

Stop Hinkley spokeswoman Katy Attwater said EDF now looked to be pressuring the Environment Agency to drop the planning condition which required the acoustic fish deterrent measures.

It comes as the Environment Agency launches a four-week consultation on whether the Hinkley C site’s operational water discharge activity permit should be varied.

Stop Hinkley Spokesperson Katy Attwater adds: “It looks to us very much like the Environment Agency is being forced to make a decision which conservation groups fear will result in the death of millions of fish every day.”

“The Severn Estuary supports some of the most important and protected habitats in the UK, EDF appears to be absolutely determined not to spend the money to install AFD’s and is pressurising the Agency into backing down.”

“This change would be disastrous for the Severn estuary and all the fish species it supports, to breed and travel into its tributaries, nine of the greatest rivers of England and Wales.”

However, Chris Fayers, Head of Environment for Hinkley Point C, told “EDF has decades of experience and data gained from taking cooling water from the Bristol Channel, which shows the activity has an insignificant impact on protected species…………

January 28, 2023 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

New delay for Hinkley Point C nuclear power – could start operating in 2036.

Hinkley C ‘on schedule’ despite new delay claim after new agreement.
SUGGESTIONS that completion of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station
could be delayed by 11 years have been dismissed by the company which is
building it. A number of delays have already hit Europe’s largest
construction site and currently Hinkley is not set to start generating
electricity until June, 2027, two years behind its original schedule. Now,
French company EDF has struck a new deal with the Government which would
allow it to start operating as late as 2036.

 West Somerset Free Press 8th Jan 2023

January 15, 2023 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Enforcement action revealed after Hinkley Point C worker death

THREE enforcement notices have been served on owners and contractors at the
Hinkley Point C nuclear power station development following a worker’s
death in November. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said it could
now reveal the action it had taken because the statutory period for
appealing against the notices had passed. It said inspectors issued three
prohibition notices relating to specific activities on the site involving
vehicles and plant machinery.

West Somerset Free Press 4th Jan 2023

January 6, 2023 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Chinese nuclear company still has a stake in UK’s Hinkley Point C project, and approval to build Bradwell project.

 Following mounting pressure from Washington, the UK decided to ban Huawei
and other vendors it considered to be a high security risk from its 5G
networks in 2020. In November, after months of prevaricating, the
Government blocked the sale of Newport Wafer Fab, the UK’s largest
semiconductor plant, to Chinese-owned Nexperia.

It also bought the Chinese
state-owned power group CGN out of its stake in the Sizewell C nuclear
energy project in Suffolk. Under a long-standing deal, CGN, which the US
placed on an export blacklist back in 2019 after Washington accused it of
stealing American know-how for military purposes, invested in Hinkley Point
C power station in Somerset; then Sizewell C, which has just been given the
green light; and is still technically due to be the lead investor at
Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex where it is hoping to instal its own design of

The Chinese company still retains a stake in Hinkley Point and
received formal approval for Bradwell from the UK’s nuclear regulator in
February. But there is growing scepticism at Westminster that the Chinese
will ever be able to build on the site.

 Telegraph 18th Dec 2022

December 19, 2022 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Potential for ‘worrying’ Hinkley Point C delay highlights need for renewables

Potential for ‘worrying’ Hinkley Point C delay highlights need for
renewables. The potential delay to the Hinkley Point C project has been
described as “worrying” by the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean
Technology (REA).

 New Civil Engineer 2nd Dec 2022

December 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK Funding subsidy to French firm EDF, for the £26bn Hinkley Point C nuclear plant even if it does not start operating until 2036

EDF has secured 14 years of funding for the UK’s upcoming nuclear plant
Hinkley Point C in case of the risk of further delays. The French energy
giant has agreed a new contract ensuring its funding even if it does not
start operating until 2036.

EDF confirmed to City A.M. the project is still
on course for completion in 2027, following an approximately two year delay
driven by the pandemic and supply chain disruptions. It is also roughly 45
per cent over budget – having initially been projected to cost £18bn, but
now expected to be priced at £26bn.

The new subsidy contract still includes
clauses in the former deal, which was set to expire just three years
earlier in 2033. This includes stipulations such as shortened payments to
EDF if Hinkley Point C fails to start generating power by May 2029.

If the plant is up and running by that date, EDF receives a guaranteed £92.50 per
megawatt hour for its electricity for the first 35 years of its life. The
latest deal instead reflects a renegotiated settlement between the UK and
China, with the Government paying CGN a £100m exit fee from the next
project – Sizewell C.

City AM 1st Dec 2022

December 2, 2022 Posted by | politics | Leave a comment

UK’s £26bn Hinkley Point C nuclear station now faces 11 year delay

Britain’s flagship Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is facing the risk of an 11-year delay, piling further pressure on efforts to keep the lights on. According to a new contract between the Government and French company
EDF, Hinkley will still be funded even if it does not start operating until 2036 – more than a decade after its initial deadline in 2025.

It raises the prospect of significant further hold-ups at Hinkley, which has already been delayed until mid-2027. The change to the subsidy contract terms comes as the Government is paying China a reported £100m to exit its involvement in a second planned new nuclear project, Sizewell C in Suffolk, which is also being developed with EDF. The Government confirmed on Tuesday that CGN will exit Sizewell C, with the state paying an unconfirmed sum to cover its 20pc shareholding and a commercial return. The Times reported this to be £100m. CGN’s involvement with Hinkley Point C is believed to be unaffected.

However, as part of the negotiations, Hinkley Point C now has more leeway than previously to get up and running. The project has a deal with the Government under which it gets a guaranteed £92.50 per megawatt hour for its electricity for the first 35 years of its life, backed by a levy on consumer bills.

When the project was first agreed in 2016, it was due to start generating at the end of 2025. In January 2021, that was pushed back
to June 2026, and in May 2022 it was pushed back again to 2027, with EDF blaming the pandemic and supply chain issues. Costs are now expected to be as high as £26bn. The plant is using a new type of generating technology, EPR, which is so far only in commercial operation in Taishan, China, where one reactor has been shut down due to problems.

Telegraph 29th Nov 2022

November 30, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment