Hinkley Point C

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Hinkley Point nuclear plant delayed, says EDF Roger Harrabin; BBC; 4 Sep 2015

The French energy company said Hinkley Point C in Somerset will not start generating power in 2023 as planned. EDF says it will provide a revised timetable for the £24.5bn plant when it takes a final investment decision on the project. The news comes as a report for the OECD says that the UK's projected nuclear costs are the highest in the world.

New Hinkley Point nuclear power station may be further delayed Terry Macalister; Guardian; 3 Sep 2015

France’s EDF gives no definite schedule for construction of £24.5bn plant, which still awaits firm’s final investment decision. The news came as the French energy group said a more advanced sister project at Flamanville in Normandy would now not start operating until 2018, at a cost of €10bn (£7.3bn). It was originally slated to open in 2005 and cost €3bn.

We are pro-nuclear, but Hinkley C must be scrapped George Monbiot, Mark Lynas, and Chris Goodall; Guardian; 18 Sep 2015

If the Hinkley C nuclear project fails, it could mean that taxpayers had to cover £17bn of the £24.5bn construction cost.

Pro-nuclear environmentalists in call to scrap Hinkley C plans Terry Macalister; Guardian; 18 Sep 2015

Three leading environmentalists who broke ranks to give their support to a new generation of nuclear plants have now urged the government to scrap plans for Hinkley Point C. George Monbiot, Mark Lynas and Chris Goodall say the soaring cost and delays to the Hinkley project leave ministers with no option but to pour the estimated £24.5bn worth of investment into other low-carbon technologies.

The quality of Hinkley Point's enemies suggests it's an idiotic venture Damian Carrington; Guardian; 21 Sep 2015

  • well-known energy analyst Peter Atherton ... said the deal is “one of the worst ever signed by a British government”, who are buying the “most expensive conventional power station in the world”.
  • HSBC agree, noting the high costs and vast delays to EDF’s two other new plants in France and Finland: “We see ample reason for the UK government to delay or cancel the project.”
  • Financial Times ... costs are far too high, more expensive than every kind of renewable energy, bar offshore wind. “Backing out might upset the French and embarrass the government. But a wish to spare ministerial blushes is no excuse for saddling the country with costs it cannot afford,” concluded the FT editorial.
  • Lord Turnbull, who knows his way around Whitehall, having led the civil service, recently told Osborne the Hinkley deal was a “bottomless pit and a big white elephant”.
  • Lord Howell is a former Conservative energy secretary, a fracking fan and also happens to be Osborne’s father-in-law. He warned the reactor design planned for Hinkley C has never “been completed successfully” and that it was “one of the worst deals ever” for British consumers and industry. Paul Massara, boss of RWE NPower, one of the UK’s Big Six, said: “We will look back and think that nuclear was a expensive mistake.”
  • George Monbiot, Mark Lynas, and Chris Goodall declared: “Hinkley C bears all the distinguishing features of a white elephant: overpriced, overcomplicated and overdue.

Hinkley Point C to power six million UK homes Department of Energy & Climate Change; 21 Oct 2015

EDF and its Chinese partner China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) have committed to Hinkley Point C during this week’s landmark China State Visit, confirming the first new nuclear power station in the UK for a generation.
The companies have signed a Strategic Investment Agreement which marks a critical moment for the site in Somerset. EDF has confirmed it will take a 66.5 per cent stake in Hinkley with CGN taking 33.5 per cent, demonstrating a clear commitment from both parties.
The Government and EDF have finalised the detail of the Contract for Difference which offers increased price certainty for the electricity produced from Hinkley Point C. The Funded Decommissioning Programme has been approved and will make sure that the tax payer doesn’t pick up the cost of decommissioning the plant in the future.

Hinkley: Point of no return for nuclear project as UK prepares to sign subsidy deal Emily Gosden; Daily Telegraph; 27 Jul 2016

A legally-binding contract committing UK consumers to subsidise Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation is expected to be signed on Friday, after the board of EDF meets to approve the £18bn project on Thursday.
The decision will pave the way for Greg Clark, the new business and energy secretary, to sign a 35-year subsidy deal, marking the point of no return for the UK on the highly controversial project that could eventually provide 7pc of the country’s electricity.

Hinkley Point C nuclear project expected to get go-ahead next week Terry Macalister; Guardian; 22 Jul 2016

EDF likely to greenlight construction of power plant in Somerset, providing boost to UK government amid Brexit fallout.

Nuclear Options Euan Mearns; Energy Matters; 4 Aug 2016

This post provides an overview of the 6 main reactor designs that are vying for the global market today focussing on the large, >1 GW Generation III reactors. While the post focusses on the UK, the part on generic designs should be of interest to all readers

The Hinkley Point C Pantomime Euan Mearns; Energy Matters; 29 Jul 2016

The board of EDF, the French State controlled owner of UK and French power stations and vendor of the new Gen 3 EPR (European Pressurised Water Reactor) voted narrowly to approve the Hinkley C reactor project on Thursday (by 10 votes to 7). Contracts were supposed to be signed today (Friday). But then in an unexpected move the UK Government has called the project in for re-evaluation. Clearly, they did not expect the French to proceed. What on Earth is going on?

U.K. Approves EDF’s £18 Billion Hinkley Point Nuclear Project Francois De Beaupuy; Bloomberg; 14 Sept 2016

expert reaction to news that the UK government has approved plans for Hinkley C nuclear power plant Science Media Centre; 16 Sept 2016

economics

Comparing the cost of electricity generation from Hinkley Point C with solar and flexibility mechanisms Solar Trade Association; Oct 2015

Hinkley Point C or solar; which is cheaper? Roger Andrews; Energy Matters; 11 Jan 2016

7TWh for just solar
3.5TWh with equal generation by wind -- still more than 100 times current installed UK energy storage capacity and the equivalent of roughly four hundred more Dinorwigs

Hinkley Point C contract terms World Nuclear News; 8 Oct 2014

If wholesale prices rise above an agreed 'strike price', payments from the generator will be returned to consumers. If they fall below this price, the generator will receive a top-up payment. Customers pay nothing until the power plant is operational.
The strike price for Hinkley Point C remains set at £92.50/MWh or £89.50/MWh if the planned new nuclear power plant at Sizewell goes ahead. These figures are in 2012 prices. If it does go ahead, there will be a payment from Sizewell C to Hinkley Point C equivalent to £3/MWh upon the final investment decision being taken with respect to Sizewell C reflecting the fact that the first-of-a-kind costs of EPR reactors are shared across the Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C sites. The Hinkley Point C contract will last for 35 years, the strike price is fully indexed to inflation through the Consumer Price Index and the project will be protected from certain changes in law. As proposed in October 2013, the CfD already contained a series of 'gainshare' mechanisms in which customers would benefit if the project construction costs or equity returns were more favourable than forecast.
... for the first time, the eventual decommissioning and waste management costs associated with Hinkley Point C will be paid by the generator at the time of generation. The cost of this Funded Decommissioning Program has already been taken into account in the strike price.

Final contracts signed for Hinkley Point C project World Nuclear News; 29 Sep 2016

The documents were signed by UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark, EDF chairman and CEO Jean-Bernard Levy and China General Nuclear (CGN) chairman He Yu. Attending the ceremony were French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and National Energy Administration of China administrator Nur Bektri. The agreements signed included the Contract for Difference (CfD) and the Secretary of State Investor Agreement. The CfD - the ratepayer-backed guaranteed price for electricity generated by Hinkley Point C - was originally agreed in October 2013 and guarantees the plant will get £92.50 per MWh for for its first 35 years of operation.

Hinkley Point C National Audit Office; 23 Jun 2017

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s deal for Hinkley Point C has locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits, according to today’s report from the National Audit Office.
It is a widely shared view that the UK needs some new nuclear power to ensure the lowest-cost route to decarbonisation. But when the Department finalised the deal in 2016 its value-for- money tests showed the economic case for Hinkley Point C was marginal and subject to significant uncertainty. Less favourable, but reasonable, assumptions about future fossil fuel prices, renewables costs and follow on nuclear projects would have meant the deal was not value for money according to the Department’s tests.
Today’s report finds that the Department has not sufficiently considered the costs and risks of its deal for consumers. It only considered the impact on bills up to 2030, which does not take account of the fact that consumers are locked into paying for Hinkley Point C long afterwards. It also did not conclude whether the forecast top-up payments are affordable.
The government’s case for the project has weakened since it agreed key commercial terms on the deal in 2013. Delays have pushed back the nuclear power plant’s construction, and the expected cost of top-up payments under the Hinkley Point C’s contract for difference has increased from £6 billion to £30 billion. But the Department’s capacity to take alternative approaches to the deal were limited after it had agreed terms. The government has increasingly emphasised Hinkley Point C’s unquantified strategic benefits, but it has little control over these and no plan yet in place to realise them.
Today’s NAO report finds that the Department aligned its approach to the Hinkley Point C deal with its support for other low-carbon technologies. This means the private sector bears the risk that construction costs overrun. The NAO’s analysis suggests alternative approaches could have reduced the total project cost. The Department did not assess whether this would have resulted in better value for money for electricity consumers.
There remains the risk that NNB Generation Company Limited (NNBG) will seek further financial support from the government, notwithstanding the contractual terms of the deal. The reactor design for HPC is unproven and other projects that incorporate it are experiencing difficulties. Furthermore, EDF’s financial position has weakened since 2013. The Department plans to develop and maintain alternative ways of ensuring energy security to mitigate the risk of needing to provide additional support for Hinkley Point C.
It will not be known for decades whether Hinkley Point C will be value for money. This will depend on whether the current contractual arrangements endure, along with external factors – in particular, future fossil fuel prices, the costs of alternative low-carbon generation, and developments in energy technology and the wider electricity system.
The Department has, however, negotiated a deal that means some terms can be adjusted in consumers’ favour in future. It must now ensure it has the right oversight arrangements in place to manage the contract in a way that maximises Hinkley Point C’s value for consumers and taxpayers.