nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

EDF’s shares down as nuclear reactor outages cut profits

AREVA EDF crumblingEDF Warns on Profit as Nuclear Plant Outages Increase  http://www.wsj.com/articles/edf-warns-on-profit-as-nuclear-plant-outages-increase-1474535674
Standard & Poor’s downgrade of EDF’s debt rating also weighs on share price
  By  INTI LANDAURO and WILLIAM HOROBIN Sept. 22, 2016

PARIS—State-controlled power utility Electricite de France cut its earnings outlook on expectations of lower nuclear output from an increase of plant outages, sending its share price down.

EDF, which last week got the go-ahead from the British government to build the £18 billion ($23.4 billion) Hinkley Point nuclear plant in the U.K., said it expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of between €16.3 billion ($18.3 billion) and €16.6 billion.

It previously had forecast a range of €16.3 billion to €16.8 billion. The company had already lowered its nuclear output forecast in July, but had maintained its earnings target.

 EDF’s shares downThe French power company said it was forced to close down its nuclear reactor for longer period that planned to carry out inspections after the country’s nuclear safety authority requested to conduct tests on the quality of the steel in the reactors’ vessels.

The profit warning, which sent EDF’s shares down 1.8% to €10.62, is another blow for shareholders, who have seen the value of the company lose more than 20% this year. The utility, which already suffers from low electricity prices in its home country and losses of market share, has recently embarked on expensive new projects that are deemed a political priority.

The French government, which owns about 85% of EDF, pressured the company to take a majority stake in beleaguered nuclear reactor manufacturer Areva NP. The government also pushed EDF to make the final investment decision to build the Hinkley Project in the U.K.

Some senior EDF officials and labor unions worried about the project’s impact on the company’s net debt which already stood at €37 billion last year. One board member resigned over the issue in July as did Chief Financial Officer Thomas Piquemal in March.

The U.K. government’s approval of the Hinkley Point project prompted Standard & Poor’s to downgrade EDF’s debt rating to A- on Wednesday evening, further pressuring the share price on Thursday morning.

To help utility with such onerous projects, the French government has decided to inject €3 billion in new equity in EDF.

EDF’s revised profitability forecast takes into account a decision by the country’s top administrative court to allow the company to raise the regulated prices it charges to some of its customers, despite the opposition from the government.

Write to Inti Landauro at inti.landauro@wsj.com and William Horobin at William.Horobin@wsj.com

September 24, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

France: Public consultation on the draft decree on protection against the dangers of ionizing radiation  

Sean Arclight   Hervé Courtois   CRIIRAD calls to mobilize against the adoption of very high reference levels
to manage nuclear accidents and their consequences.

The French authorities are preparing to establish the zones management criteria contaminated following a nuclear accident (or after an attack affecting a nuclear installation). What level of radiation exposure, and thus risk, will be taken in reference to decide whether or not to hire a particular action to protect the population? Very concretely: to what level of risk you will be condemned to live in contaminated areas? At what level of risk can you expect to be compensated and rehoused in a healthy environment?

The French authorities have retained the levels of effective dose as high as possible: 100 mSv for the accident phase and 20 mSv / year for accidental post phase (while for the public, the maximum dose limit is typically 1 mSv / year and that this value is already at a high level of risk). More limitations are high, lower are the expenses related to the protection and compensation for damage. This choice is unfortunately consistent with the capping of compensation for victims of a major nuclear accident. Nuclear power is exempted from the application of the polluter pays principle: they are the victims who bear the health and economic consequences of the disaster.

This decision does not just happen. It is the fruit of 20 years of efforts of the nuclear lobby, and specifically the French nuclear lobby via the Trojan horse, the FNEC (1). The key idea is to convince people that can be done entirely live in contaminated areas. Just a bit of training and equipment to control their environment, food. These experts have just “forgot” the central problem of the deteriorating health status of people, especially children.

If you are shocked by the image of the Japanese children wear around their necks a dosimeter as a pendant, if it is not the future you want for your children, act!
1. Study Centre on the Protection of the evaluation in the field Nuclear: an association with 4 members (EDF, AREVA, CEA and IRSN) and has widely infiltrated the national and international decision-making and including the ICRP (Jacques Lochard, Director of the FNEC, is now vice chairman of the main committee)

The Ministry of Environment, Energy and Marine has launched a consultation on the draft decree on the Directive 2013/59. Remember that France must transpose the Directive into French law by January 2018. This consultation is an opportunity to denounce the proposals which we find unacceptable and show already our requirements. We later learned of this consultation will end on 30 September.
Take part in the public consultation
and say NO to the obligation to live in contaminated areas!

> Learn more
> How to participate in the public consultation?

The Directive covers many topics which will be discussed further. Other actions will be implemented in the coming weeks. We already rely on your help to relay! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

September 23, 2016 Posted by | France, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

The miserable and ongoing history of EDF’s unfinished nuclear reactors in Flamanville and Olkiluoto

The £18bn Hinkley gamble: Nuclear deal will cost every UK family an extra £1,000 as May signs off on the plans to protect Britain’s national security 

  • Prime Minister approved plans after restricting influence of Chinese state
  • Britain will guarantee EDF £92.50 per megawatt hour, up on current market price of £38.91
  • Tory MP Zac Goldsmith said the plant would generate ‘most expensive energy in the history of energy generation’

By JASON GROVES DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR FOR THE DAILY MAIL, 16 Sept 16 “……..Construction at the site near Cherbourg began in 2007, with a scheduled completion date of 2012. But within a year, cracks were found in the concrete base and a quarter of the welds in the reactor’s secondary steel lining were found to be defective.

Reactor-EPR-Flamanville

Inspections also revealed holes in concrete pillars and faults in buildings where nuclear fuel is to be stored.

A report by France’s nuclear safety authority in 2011 recorded 13 incidents of sub-standard safety measures. In 2013, a welder fell to his death. Then last year defects were discovered in safety valves in the cooling system.

Chillingly, this was similar to a problem that led to the Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident in Pennsylvania in 1979, which before Chernobyl was the world’s worst nuclear accident, and resulted in $1billion (£750million) of clean-up costs.

It was also in 2015 that Flamanville suffered a potentially killer-blow.

Tests on the steel used to construct the base and lid of the nuclear reactor vessel showed that too much carbon had been used, leading to weaknesses in the structure.

Professor Steve Thomas, of the University of Greenwich, said that if this led to the reactor failing, there would be no warning. ‘It will fail catastrophically and allow its radioactive contents into the environment,’ he said.

For their part, EDF and its project partner – the majority French state-owned company Areva, which makes nuclear reactors – have been forced to make more tests on the steel.

At the time the faults were found, the Financial Times said: ‘The scale of the risks to EDF if those tests identify a serious problem is hard to exaggerate.’

Whatever the findings of these new tests, Flamanville’s opening date – which has already been put back six years – is still nowhere in sight.

Professor Thomas warns that if it has to be rebuilt, the process could take up to five years, adding: ‘That might be prohibitively expensive and the whole plant could be abandoned.’

All this assumes that government-owned EDF doesn’t go bust in the meantime – which is a possibility.

In March, the company’s finance director Thomas Piquemal resigned, saying that taking on Hinkley as a project risked driving the firm to bankruptcy. Problems were compounded by the fact that Areva has had to be bailed out by the French government, with an injection of £3.4billion of public money in April. Inevitably, the European Commission has launched an investigation into this rescue package to check it did not ‘unduly distort competition’.

For some time, Areva – which is 87 per cent owned by the state – had been struggling with a downturn in the nuclear industry and has suffered big financial losses on its projects.

Once the pride of France, the reactor designer saw its credit rating downgraded last year, and in February it reported a €2billion (£1.7billion) net loss for 2015.

Olkiluoto was meant to be the world’s biggest nuclear reactor. But it is already nearly a decade late, and its cost has tripled from €3billion (£2.5billion) to nearly €9 billion (£7.6billion).

reactor-Olkiluoto_14

The project been subject to lawsuits, technology failure, construction errors and a bitter row between participant companies that has been described as ‘one of the biggest conflicts in the history of the construction sector’.

Work began on the EPR in 2005 and was scheduled to be completed in 2009. But from early on, problems emerged.

The concrete base on which the plant was to be built proved to be faulty, and had to be taken up and relaid. Then there was a problem with the electronic control systems.

Because it is absolutely vital that engineers can manage the temperature inside the reactor, a new nuclear plant must have two parallel control systems in case one fails.

The problem at Olkiluoto was that the two systems were too similar – meaning that if something caused the first one to shut down, there was a big risk that the second one would also close down.

The issue took five years to resolve – with the result that the power station is not expected to open until 2018 at the earliest.

Not surprisingly, the Finnish government has cancelled an option to buy a second reactor.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3791895/The-18bn-Hinkley-gamble-nuclear-deal-cost-UK-family-extra-1-000-signs-plans-protect-Britain-s-national-security.html

September 17, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Finland, France | Leave a comment

Australian delegation stopped from France’s nuclear waste agency by anti nuclear activists

protestflag-franceAustralian Delegation to France Blockaded By Anti-Nuclear Activists http://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire/2016/09/05/australian-delegation-to-france-blockaded-by-anti-nuclear-activists/#more-51943 from Earth First! Newswire On the morning of September 1st an Australian delegation on a parliamentary inquiry into the management of nuclear waste, was blockaded in North-East France by anti-nuclear activists.

The delegation was visiting the National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (ANDRA) facilities in the municipality of Bure, where an anti-nuclear movement under the banner of Bure Zone Libre (Bure Liberated Zone, BZL) has been burgeoning in recent years.

A group of about twenty masked activists dressed in white overalls and armed with water guns, drums and a sound system blocked the Australian delegation from entering the ANDRA laboratory, forcing the delegation to turn around and leave.

“We’re here in solidarity with indigenous resistance to the planned nuclear facility in Australia,” said one activist with a red clown nose. “Nuclear industry endangers life itself, and we will resist it everywhere.”

The BZL movement recently got national headlines in France for toppling a three kilometer long wall which ANDRA has erected around the forest near Bure. The wall was intended to stop the group from reoccupying the forest which ANDRA aims to uproot for the construction of a controversial nuclear waste facility.

“Wherever they’ll build walls, we’ll turn them into wall jam,” the activist laughed, explaining the French wordplay confiture de mur, as mur means both blackberry and wall.

About twenty gendarmes (French military police) patrolled Bure after the action had already ended. The area has been increasingly militarized recently, with activists facing trumped legal charges.

The BZL activists sent the Australian delegates a letter explaining their actions, presented below.

Letter to Australian delegation:

Dear distinguished Australian visitors,

Nuclear industry is a ticking time bomb, whether radioactive waste is dumped in Bure, Wallerberdina, or anywhere else. There is no known way to permanently neutralize it. All claims to the contrary are unfounded (visit nirs.org for details). By accepting to dump nuclear waste in Australia you are not only endangering the lives of aboriginal people and Australians in the region, but of wildlife and of the lives of those who will suffer the consequences nuclear production from extraction to waste everywhere.

Here in Bure, Andra’s project has already cost the lives of two workers, most recently last January, showing the company’s incompetence and disrespect for human life. Undemocratically and illegally imposed on us, the costs of the Cigeo waste project rise as resistance to it is burgeoning, manifesting in absurd military and police presence in the area.

As nuclear power proves to be obsolete and dangerous the world over, and as sustainable alternatives are increasingly available, resistance materializes in Australia as well. You can choose to fight for a just, ecologically balanced world now, and leave Andra’s profit-driven propagandists to listen to what we have to say, or meet us from the other side of the barricades. We are fighting for our lives and for the lives of our children.

We are a growing contingent of local and international activists occupying Bure to stop nuclear catastrophe. In our collective way of organizing and living we present an alternative to nuclear waste and to the sick world which produces it.

September 7, 2016 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

French Unionists take legal action to stop Hinkley nuclear power project

legal actionflag-franceEDF representatives file legal challenge in France over Hinkley Point Five union members in France are seeking to annul decision on £18bn project to build nuclear reactors, Guardian,  in Paris . Tensions over Britain’s proposed nuclear power station at Hinkley Point have flared again in France as five worker representatives on the board of the French power company EDF filed a challenge to overturn the company’s controversial decision to build the nuclear reactors.

The employee representatives believe EDF’s chief executive “did not communicate crucial information about a major project” he was aware of before the 28 July meeting at which the board of directors approved the £18bn project to build Britain’s first new nuclear reactors in decades, their law firm told Agence France-Presse.

The five union board members have filed a complaint with the Paris commercial court seeking to annul the decision because the Jean-Bernard Levy had not shared essential information with all board members.

The complaint also protests against the participation of several directors “with conflicts of interests”, according to the law firm Alain Levy. The challenge claims that some of the EDF board members who voted in favour of Hinkley Point represent companies that are EDF customers and could benefit from the UK contract. French firms Bouygues and Vallourec have denied that members of their boards who are also on the board of EDF had a conflict of interest in their Hinkley Point vote………

The nuclear reactors carry huge risks for both France and Britain. EDF will assume the upfront costs, which unions say could jeopardise the firm’s survival, while Britain has committed to pay a price twice current market levels for the power generated by the plant……..

A date for a Paris court hearing should be set on 5 September.

EDF is also being sued by its Works Council, which also wants to annul the vote because it argues it had not received the necessary documents from management to give non-binding preliminary advice to the company. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/aug/31/edf-representatives-file-legal-challenge-in-france-over-hinkley-point

September 5, 2016 Posted by | France, Legal | Leave a comment

France to launch 6 tenders for solar energy projects

sunflag-franceFrance ushers in 3 GW solar tender across six rounds, PV Magazine, 25. AUGUST 2016, BY:  IAN CLOVER

Energy ministry confirms series of six tenders of 500 MW each to be launched between 2017 and 2020 as country gradually reignites efforts to boost its solar PV sector.  “……the government appears to at least be coming to terms with its solar shortsightedness, and this week announced that it will launch a series of solar PV tenders next year to support an additional 3 GW of PV by 2020.

The energy ministry will oversee a series of six tenders of 500 MW each, beginning in 2017. This steady and regular roll out of available projects will, the ministry said, provide stability and visibility to the French solar industry, delivering jobs and aiding the country’s carbon reduction efforts.

The tenders will be available to ground-mounted PV systems between 500 kW and 17 MW in size, and the first round of bidding ends on February 1, 2017.

During each of the six, 500 MW rounds, 300 MW capacity will be reserved for solar farms larger than 5 MW, while 135 MW of capacity will be for plants with a capacity between 500 kW and 5 MW. The remaining 65 MW will be offered to developers looking to build PV systems on carports, provided they are sized between 500 kW and 10 MW.

France is famously largely nuclear-powered, but a new solar support mechanism introduced in May – whereby bidders receive a premium on top of the market price for the PV power they feed to the grid – will hopefully deliver the types of revenue guarantee that can help the country make the transition towards more renewables.

France’s solar installation aims target 10.2 GW of PV by the end of 2018, with anywhere between 18.2 GW to 20.2 GW by 2023.   http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/france-ushers-in-3-gw-solar-tender-across-six-rounds_100025903/#ixzz4IPyzWiC8

August 26, 2016 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

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 | Leave a comment

France’ solar roads project underway

France gets a step closer to solar roads http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/france-gets-step-closer-solar-roads-56433 By  on 5 August 2016 French energy minister Ségolène Royal has inaugurated a manufacturing plant that will produce the so-called “Wattway” paving, made of solar PV. One of its pilot projects will be a 1 kilometer solar road, built in the same region as where the plant is located.

Solar Road 1

On 26 July French  energy minister Ségolène Royal inaugurated a manufacturing unit for the Wattway photovoltaic panels in Tourouvre, Orne. Wattway is a French innovation and is the result of 5 years of research undertaken by Colas, a transport infrastructure company, and the French National Institute for Solar Energy (INES).

The joint patent for the product is based on crystalline silicon, and although it is very thin, Colas argues it is also “very sturdy, skid-resistant and designed to last,” with the durability to bear all types of vehicles, including trucks. Wattway panels can be applied directly to existing pavements, with the aim of generating green electricity while also allowing traffic to flow.

The new manufacturing facility is adjacent to Colas’ headquarters in the village of Tourouvre, in France’s north western department Orne. The new facility is expected to speed up the panel production time, as the Wattway panels had previously been manufactured at the INES laboratory.

Colas is already taking orders for panels ranging from 10 m2 to 50 m2, however, as of 2017, Wattway panels will be included in the Colas product line and the panel surface will increase.

One of the first applications of the Wattway panels will be a 1 kilometer road in the Onre region, the local council has announced.

France’s energy minister took the opportunity at the event to also announce the mobilization of €5 million in state funding to support the development of the Wattway photovoltaic panel. Royal herself is a great support of the innovative patent and has often spoken publicly of the variety of projects the Wattway can be applied to.

 A Wattway panel, said Colas, can last “at least 10 years depending on the traffic, which speeds up wear. If the section is not covered by heavy traffic – a stadium parking lot for example – then Wattway panels can last roughly 20 years.”

 Furthermore, “given the technical issues involved in the connection process, the panels need to be installed by an authorized technician,” added Colas, who also expressed that “within the next two to three years, it will be possible to install Wattway panels on private roads and driveways.”

Source: PV Magazine.  

August 8, 2016 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

AREVA- not making money from nuclear build, but cleaning up from waste cleanup?

New facility in Moyock makes massive spent nuclear fuel storage casks By Jeff Hampton  The Virginian-Pilot MOYOCK, N.C., 7 Aug 16   Marlin Stoltz put on a hard hat and bright yellow vest before walking out into the four-acre work area of the Moyock Casting Facility, a new operation in the business of spent nuclear fuel storage.

A line of concrete cases, each 21 feet long and weighing 100 tons, rested along a rail spur, ready for shipment. Several men stood atop a steel form where hydraulic power vibrated and settled four truckloads of concrete for the next case. A concrete plant operated less than 100 yards away.

 The property along N.C. 168 near the Chesapeake border is a short trip by rail or truck from the Norfolk ports, where barges haul in cement and rock. A rail line, a concrete plant, a good highway, proximity to the ports and isolation from residential development all make the site nearly perfect for its purposes, Stoltz said.

“This allows us to work very efficiently,” said Stoltz, supervisor of the Moyock Casting Facility and a deputy of the services business line for parent company Areva TN, a division of Areva, Inc, based in Charlotte.

money-in-nuclear--wastes

Areva, Inc. has operations within the entire nuclear cycle, including uranium mining.

The Moyock facility with 25 employees opened in January. It makes concrete modules that encase steel canisters containing spent nuclear fuel. From here, the modules head to nuclear plants elsewhere……

demand for spent fuel storage remains strong, Stoltz said. The Moyock plant means to deliver.

“The back end of the business is growing,” he said. http://pilotonline.com/news/local/new-facility-in-moyock-makes-massive-spent-nuclear-fuel-storage/article_82fb08bd-19f9-5c03-b976-47eeeb130604.html

August 8, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear fiasco is a threat to French company EDF

AREVA EDF crumblingNu Clear News No 87 5 Aug 16 EDF’s future threatened.  Perhaps of more immediate concern is that a go-ahead for Hinkley could threaten the future of the company itself. EDF is a company in a very precarious financial situation. The ratings agency, S&P, postponed a decision to downgrade its credit rating when the UK Government announced the review. (7) EDF has €37 billion of debt. The collapse in energy prices has pushed earnings down 68% in 2015. The Company needs to spend €50 billion upgrading its network of 58 ageing reactors by 2025. It is scrambling to sell €4 billion of new shares and €10 billion of assets to strengthen its balance sheet. EDF is also expected to participate in the €5 billion bailout of Areva, the bankrupt developer of EPR technology, by taking a 75 per cent stake. (8) About the last thing it needs is a new €15 billion millstone around its neck.

 

 

Roy Pumfrey said “The EDF Board should take the opportunity presented by this pause to see that its Nuclear SatNav has taken the Company down a dead end; it’s only a matter of time before we hear that voice saying “At the next opportunity, turn round!”‘

 

 

He continues: “Perhaps most disappointing if not unexpected has been the reaction of the big UK Union leaders. Whilst confessing themselves ‘baffled’ by the government’s ‘bonkers’ decision, they should ask why the French union leaders representing EDF’s own workers were (and are) solidly and vocally opposed to HPC. This project involves a reactor which many of EDF’s own staff regard as unconstructable, selling off the family silver to fund it and putting EDF and therefore their own livelihoods at risk. UK unions do not seem to appreciate that the fantasy 25,000 jobs on HPC are a conjurer’s trick. Only 30% will be ‘local’, which means 90 minutes drive time from HPC, and with only 5,600 on site on any one day, a job with a particular skill set will only be good for two years at most. That’s assuming that

HPC can be built in an optimistic ten years, even that too long to keep the lights on.”

 

 

Over recent months several different alternative to building Hinkley Point C have been detailed (10) Most recently consultancy firm Utilitywise has described the proposed nuclear station as an “unnecessary expense” Energy efficiency measures could save the equivalent amount of electricity along with £12bn

 

Roy Pumfrey said: “This Government review of Hinkley Point C provides us with a wonderful opportunity to turn Somerset into a sustainable energy hub for England. The alternatives would be better for jobs, better for consumers, would reduce the mountain of dangerous waste we don’t know how to deal with and save Somerset from a decade of disruption caused by one of the biggest construction projects in the world The sooner EDF and the UK Government come to their senses the better. http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo87.pdf

 

August 5, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics, UK | Leave a comment

French trade unions consider further legal action against EDF’s Hi8nkley nuclear project

justiceflag-franceNow French want to block Hinkley nuclear plant with unions set to launch second legal challenge http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-3720786/Now-French-want-block-Hinkley-nuclear-plant-unions-set-launch-second-legal-challenge.html By CITY & FINANCE REPORTER FOR THE DAILY MAIL, 2 Aug 16 Fresh fears have emerged over the future of Hinkley Point nuclear power station as French trade unions look poised to launch a second legal challenge against the project.

EDF gave its long-awaited approval for funding of the £18billion nuclear plant last week.

But yesterday it was claimed board members were only given 48 hours to read the 2,500-page proposal document before voting on the investment.  Complaints about the brevity of the two-day window have prompted French trade unions, who voted against the project, to consider further legal action against the energy company.

It follows an earlier legal bid from the unions over claims EDF did not provide enough information during the consultation on Hinkley.

EDF declined to comment.

August 3, 2016 Posted by | France, Legal | Leave a comment

France disturbed at possibility of Theresa May dumping Hinkley C nuclear station plan

plants-downFrench Are Left Reeling as May Mulls Nuclear-Power Dilemma, Bloomberg,    RobDotHutton        FrancoisDeBeaup July 29, 2016 —

  • New prime minister could dump project and blame Cameron
  • U.K. concerns are over Chinese involvement and rising cost
Francois Hollande has had concerns for at least a week about whether Theresa May’s government was committed to the Hinkley Point nuclear plant. The cool public response the U.K. gave the deal matched the new prime minister’s private comments when the French president asked her about it in their first meeting.

Even so, the French were stunned on Thursday evening when Britain said it needed more time to think about the plan. A planned signing was canceled. Hollande, with an election coming next year, has been attacked by labor unions who say the 18 billion-pound ($24 billion) project could bankrupt state-owned Electricite de France SA………

May’s joint chief of staff, Nick Timothy, last year described the decision to allow Chinese involvement in the project as “baffling.” He raised the prospect of China being able to shut down British energy production “at will” in an article for the Conservative Home website.

Brexit Talks

But there are risks to blocking the deal. It would infuriate the French, a needed ally in the Brexit talks. It would also lead to a dispute over where the costs of unwinding the project should fall………

“My assumption is still that the U.K. will probably sign off on it,” said Joel Kenrick, a political adviser to Energy Secretary Chris Huhne from 2010 to 2012.. “But then, I can’t actually see it being built. EDF have just got such a poor track record.” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-29/french-are-left-reeling-as-may-mulls-her-nuclear-power-dilemma

July 30, 2016 Posted by | France, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

France’s State-owned nuclear company EDF decides to go ahead with UK’s Hinkley nuclear station

£18 billion Hinkley Point nuclear power station gets go ahead from EDF, Mirror, 28 JUL 2016 BY ALAN JONES ,   

The French energy giant has decided to press ahead of a new plant in a crunch board meeting in Paris
EDF has given the go ahead to building a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, after a crunch board meeting in Paris.

The French energy giant had been expected to make the final investment decision today , clearing the way for the £18 billion project to go ahead.

Reports said the board voted by 10-7 in favour. EDF in the UK made no immediate comment.

John Sauven, Greenpeace executive director, said: “This deal was more riven with dissension in the EDF board than anyone expected. It’s unprecedented division and far closer than predicted.

“Countless experts have warned that for British families this power station will be terrible value for money.

“This is a bitter pill to swallow for hard up people who have been told that the Government is trying to keep bills down while dealing with energy security and lowering carbon emissions………..
A director opposed to the construction of Hinkley Point C resigned before the board met.

Gerard Magnin said in his resignation letter that Hinkley Point was “very risky”.

He did not attend the board meeting, leaving 17 directors to make the crucial decision. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/18-billion-hinkley-point-nuclear-8514859

July 29, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

French government propping up nuclear company EDF with a cash boost

AREVA EDF crumblingflag-franceFrench nuclear company EDF to get cash infusion http://www.dw.com/en/french-nuclear-company-edf-to-get-cash-infusion/a-19428058

The French government has said it will go ahead with a 4-billion-euro share issue for state-controlled electricity firm EDF. The move will help finance the construction of two controversial nuclear reactors in the UK. The French state – which holds 85 percent of EDF – said it will buy three billion euros’ worth of the newly issued EDF shares sometime this year. The fourth billion will be chipped in by other investors.

EDF’s board of directors is expected to give final investment approval this week for the construction of two EPR nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in southwestern England, home to two old Magnox reactors that are no longer in operation and two AGR gas-cooled reactors whose construction began in 1967 and are still in operation, but whose decommissioning date is currently set for 2023.

EDF had delayed the final investment decision on the new Hinkley Point reactors several times, as it sought other investors to share the costs amid concerns the heavily indebted company will struggle to meet its financial commitments.

Internal skeptics abound  The six labor-union representatives sitting on EDF’s 18-member board have repeatedly opposed the project. They wanted to see it delayed by three years to give EDF time to complete the construction of similar reactors in France, Finland and China, which are several years behind schedule.

The company’s works council secretary, Jean-Luc Magnaval, told the news agency Reuters that his union had filed a complaint on the matter with a Paris court, which has scheduled a hearing on the case for August 2.

EDF’s chief financial officer has resigned over the threat the project represents to the company’s finances.

EDF is also planning to speed up renovation of its 58 nuclear reactors in France, a task expected to cost about 51 billion euros.

EDF, which has already spent about 3 billion euros on Hinkley Point C, needs the project “to maintain its know-how and prepare for the retirement and renewal of its aging French and British nuclear fleet,” chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy told shareholders on Tuesday. He added that the new capital would also help the bolster the company’s credit rating and its ability to refinance its 37.4 billion euro debt.

Sparing no expense  The Hinkley Point project is a joint venture between EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation. It’s one of the world’s most costly nuclear power plant projects.

The most recently projected price tag was a whopping 18 billion pounds ($24 billion, 21.7 billion euros), before Brexit lowered the value of the pound.

However, a complex system of subsidies approved by former UK finance minister, George Osborne, could cost up to 37 billion pounds, according to a recent estimate published by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Nuclear renaissance?

The UK’s environment secretary, Andrea Leadsom, recently reiterated that the Hinkley Point project will kick-start a “nuclear renaissance” in Britain that would see 18 gigawatts of new capacity added if sites at Sizewell, Bradwell, Moorside, Wylfa and Oldbury are developed along with Hinkley Point C.

Nuclear power accounts for around 16 percent of the UK’s energy requirements, which could drop to three per cent in 2030 unless new reactors are built in the meantime, Leadsom said.

EPR reactors are third-generation nuclear reactors which use pressurised water as their cooling fluid. At present, most operating reactors around the world are second-generation reactors; only around a dozen Generation 3 reactors are in operation so far.

A variety of Generation 4 reactor designs, which engineers hope will be more inherently safe and more cost-efficient than previous generations, are in various stages of prototype development, but none are expected to be commercially available before about 2030 or 2040.

By that time, however, renewable energy technologies and battery storage systems may have attainedsuch a low cost that construction of new nuclear power stations may prove a tough sell financially. That’s already the case for the Hinkley Point C project and for EDF’s other three existing EPR reactor projects around the world, all of which have proven to be far more expensive than optimistic early estimates, and very likely none of which would be getting built had they not been supported by heavy government subsidies.

July 28, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

EDF’s 900-MW Fessenheim-2 nuclear reactor may have to remain shut, until anomalies are corrected

EDF reactor may remain shut after regulator suspends certificate London (Platts)–19 Jul 2016 EDF’s 900-MW Fessenheim-2 nuclear reactor may have to remain shut beyond the end of scheduled maintenance after French nuclear safety authority ASN said Tuesday it had suspended a certificate for one of the reactor’s steam generators, in which several anomalies were discovered in June.

“ASN has suspended the test certificate it issued to Areva NP in 2012 for a steam generator currently installed on reactor 2 of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant,” ASN said.”This suspension is consecutive to the detection of an irregularity in the manufacturing, by Areva’s Creusot Forge factory, on one of the parts of this steam generator,” ASN said in the statement.

ASN issues test certificates for the most important nuclear equipment, and these certificates are required for the commissioning of the equipment. The suspension of the test certificate, ASN said, would result in the Fessenheim-2 reactor remaining shut until Areva NP — the reactor unit of Areva and owner of the Creusot Forge — demonstrates the steam generators can meet the regulatory standards.

Le Creusot Forge manufactures forgings and castings for the large components of nuclear reactors.

ASN said it had asked Areva NP to send the agency details on how it intends to rectify the steam generator’s problems……..http://www.platts.com/latest-news/electric-power/london/edf-reactor-may-remain-shut-after-regulator-suspends-21023392

July 27, 2016 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment