Tagged: Hinkley Point C

Hinkley Point nuclear plant: ‘very good prospect’ of go-ahead this year, says Amber Rudd

Energy secretary says proposed new nuclear plant is ‘essential’

There is a “very good prospect” of a decision to build Britain’s first new nuclear plant finally being taken later this year, Amber Rudd, the energy secretary has said.
Despite mounting doubts about EDF’s proposed Hinkley Point power station, Ms Rudd told MPs on Tuesday she believed it was “essential” that the project go ahead.

Ms Rudd told MPs on the energy select committee: “We hope the decision will be made later on this year. We are very committed as a government to making sure that we build new nuclear and Hinkley Point will be the first of those.

“Old nuclear is coming off and I think we need as much investment as we can procure in order to support new nuclear.”
Protracted negotiations between EDF and Government over subsidies for Hinkley resulted in a headline deal in October 2013 but details are still being ironed out, while investments from Chinese nuclear partners are yet to be finalised and financial turmoil at reactor-maker Areva has caused further problems.

Ms Rudd said: “I haven’t got the scars of the past three to four years, or two and half years, as my permanent secretary may have in terms of taking forward that negotiation, but I have met the parties involved in the past 10 weeks and it looks to me like there is a very good prospect of it reaching a happy conclusion later this year.”


Image: Illustration of the proposed Hinkley Point C (EDF Energy)

EDF laid off hundreds of construction workers earlier this year as preparatory work at the Somerset site ground to a halt and Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s shadow energy minister, wrote to Ms Rudd last month urging her to “admit the project will not proceed and inform Parliament what your alternative energy strategy will be”.
But Ms Rudd told MPs: “This is going to be the first new nuclear plant in over 20 years so it is essential to me that we succeed in it.”

A legal challenge from Austria to the EU’s state aid approval for Hinkley subsidies, while “very unwelcome”, was not expected to affect the final investment decision being taken later this year, she said.

Ms Rudd, who said value for money was her top priority in the department, rejected suggestions she was “secretly having regrets” about the subsidy terms agreed by the Coalition, which will see consumers on the hook to pay roughly double the current market price of power for 35 years.

Ms Rudd suggested the price was worth it because nuclear was reliable, unlike renewables. “We have to have secure base-load, so you should not be surprised that we are prepared to pay more for that in order to ensure nuclear is part of the mix. The requirement for nuclear is absolute,” she said.

However, future nuclear plants were expected to come in more cheaply, she said.

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Hinkley Point C Project Update

EDF Energy and the UK Government have made good progress on the work to finalise the agreements which will enable a final investment decision in the coming months for the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

There has also been continuing positive progress with future investment partners in the project.

EDF Energy has carried out extensive work with its contract partners to make the Hinkley Point C project ready for a final investment decision. The company has invested significantly in a series of preparatory activities including site preparations (earthworks, drainage works and culvert construction, concrete production facilities and welfare facilities) and roadworks.

These works are now nearing completion. EDF Energy will complete roadworks currently in progress at Taunton Rd/Broadway in Bridgwater, the Washford Cross roundabout in West Somerset and the Cannington bypass. The next phase of work on site and in the associated developments will require a substantial increase in spending levels, and will begin as soon as the final investment decision has been made.

In the meantime work to ensure the project’s readiness will continue, including project planning, engineering design and commercial supply chain activities.

Source: Nuclear Matters

EDF Energy to press on with Hinkley nuclear reactor project

Chief executive says construction of UK’s first reactor in 20 years should begin early next year despite financial pressures
Hinkley Point nuclear power station
Artist’s impression of EDF’s Hinkley Point C station. Photograph: EDF/PA  

EDF Energy expects to give the go ahead before spring for construction of the UK’s first new nuclear reactor for 20 years, despite financial problems at its partner Areva and a warning on the difficulty of such projects.

The comments from Vincent de Rivaz, EDF chief executive, came at a nuclear conference where senior industry figures raised fears of a skills and supply chain crunch at the £25bn Hinkley Point C power station in Somerset.

De Rivaz admitted that delays at its Flamanville plant in France were a setback, but insisted they would not impact financially on the British project, which is using the same European pressurised reactor (EPR) technology.

“We should be under no illusion that building new nuclear plants has never been easy,” he told the Nuclear Industries Association (NIA). “We take the construction risk for Hinkley Point C – not the customers. Let us be clear, the cost of Hinkley Point C has not increased by one penny as a result of the delays at Flamanville.”

The EDF executive said volatile oil prices, uncertainty over Russian energy supplies and high hopes for a binding new climate change agreement to restrict carbon emissions underlined the need for new nuclear plants.

De Rivaz said legal and other work needed to be completed before EDF could give the final investment decision on Hinkley Point, but he remained confident that a positive decision could be made in the first quarter of 2015. He said discussions with potential new and existing foreign shareholders to the project were continuing.

Asked about the problems at Areva, designer of the EPR and shareholder in the Hinkley project, De Rivaz said the French government, which owned the majority of shares in the business, had agreed to support it as a going concern.

Read the full article here http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/dec/04/edf-energy-nuclear-reactor-hinkley

Source: Guardian

Where next for the UK nuclear industry?

Where next for the UK nuclear industry?

Nuclear power is the most controversial source of energy, but government claims an expansion of the sector is essential.

Hinkley Point nuclear plant<br />

Prime minister David Cameron sets out his plans for the future of UK nuclear power at Hinkley Point B in Somerset. Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA

Few subjects are as polarising as nuclear power. Supporters claim a new generation of nuclear plants is the most effective means of helping to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, while filling the ‘energy gap’ that will result from the decommissioning of old fossil fuel and nuclear power facilities in the 2020s.

But opponents believe it is an expensive folly, replete with ethical and environmental effects that have repercussions for generations to come, siphoning money and attention away from renewables.

The debate took on another dimension in 2011, when the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami led to the meltdown of three of the Fukushima nuclear power plant’s reactors. In response, Germany cancelled its nuclear programme, embarking on the ‘energiewende’ (energy shift), which aims to produce 60% of Germany’s power through renewable sources by 2050. By contrast, the UK is proposing to build a new generation of nuclear power plants, starting with Hinkley Point C.

“A new generation of nuclear power stations, alongside renewables and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage, is a key part of our future low carbon energy mix,” a DECC spokesperson told the Guardian, “and will contribute to the UK’s vision of providing safe, reliable and low carbon energy for the future. Nuclear is expected to be one of the cheapest sources of low carbon electricity in the future.”

Peter Haslam, public policy advisor for the Nuclear Industry Association,said that while nuclear isn’t “the only way of meeting the energy gap… (we) need to do something if we’re going to keep the lights on. We’re going to have to replace our existing high-carbon capacity with low-carbon generation.”

Hinkley Point C will be the first nuclear power station in the UK since Sizewell B, which started generating electricity in 1995. Along with 11 other new nuclear power stations the government hopes to see built, this would transform what has for some time been a legacy industry into one that would provide 16 GWe of new nuclear capacity by 2030.

Hinkley Point C is projected to provide electricity for 6m homes, meeting approximately 7% of the UK’s demand when running at full capacity. But the proposals are controversial, not least due to the cost involved.

All new nuclear builds involve high capital expenditures. However, many opponents of the Hinkley plan claim the £92.5/MWh strike price, the loan guarantee promised by the Treasury, liability issuance provided to EDF by the Government, and other financial measures actually amount to subsidies by another name – transferring liability onto British electricity customers and taxpayers for at least 35 years.

“There are two other other consortia who might build nuclear reactors at other sites in the future, but they haven’t been involved in the strike price negotiations,” said Dr David Lowry, an independent research policy consultant specialising in nuclear. “The result of that is that EDF had a monopoly over the government as to whether or not the government would agree to take the strike price or not.”

The strike price for offshore wind is higher, pegged at £155/MWh, but Lowry claims this must be balanced by the fact that contracts only last 15 years.

Nuclear Free Local Authorities chair, Councillor Mark Hackett, said investing in nuclear is the wrong approach, “particularly in the light of the Fukushima disaster. The gargantuan cost of £16bn dwarfs previous energy projects, and is likely to make it the most expensive to build reactor in history. It could also choke off the nascent renewable energy revolution in the UK, turning off investors in offshore wind and solar at a time when such industries are rapidly taking off elsewhere in Europe”.

In addition, the coalition agreement promised that new nuclear sites would not receive state financial aid. The European Commission has doubts that the estimated £17.6 bn in financial aid for the Hinkley deal can be justified.

Many environmentalists have expressed concerns over how the nuclear waste from these new reactors will be dealt with. Cumbria recently rejected government plans for an underground nuclear waste disposal facility, and the costs of cleaning up the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site in the region have rocketed past £70bn.

“That site is so polluted and so nasty, and they just don’t know what to do with it,” claimed Catherine Mitchell, professor of energy policy at the University of Exeter, “so every time a new government comes in they just keep it going, they don’t deal with it.”

However, Haslam counters that any new build plant operators “will have to, by law, put aside funds as the stations move through their lives to ensure that there is a fund there in place at the end of their lifetime to provide for the decommissioning”.

Supporters of the new build programme believe it will provide a springboard for UK business to compete in a global nuclear energy market. New fast breeder reactors could also help address many environmental concerns, turning the UK’s stockpile of nuclear waste into nuclear fuel. But the technology is still some way off being demonstrated at scale and will require international collaboration to develop.

Given the UK’s long nuclear heritage, there is a considerable skills base in the country that the nuclear industry could to draw upon in future too. “Globally, we’ve still got a very good reputation in the nuclear sector because we’ve had 60 years of running successful and safe nuclear power generation,” said Derek Allen, lead technologist, for energy generation and supply at the Technology Strategy Board, which also invests in innovations for renewables and other forms of energy.

Many people still believe the UK is heading down the wrong electricity track, and should emulate Germany and Denmark and invest much more heavily in renewable sources of electricity. The potential for smart meters, increased energy efficiency measures, carbon capture technologies, distributed grids and community energy projects could change the way we consume electricity – and put the nuclear industry out of step with reality. “The whole energy system is changing,” added Mitchell, “and that’s really one of the big issues for nuclear power.”

This feature is part of the Guardian’s Big Energy Debate series.Click here to find out more about this project and our partners

 Source: Guardian

Doosan Babcock signs EDF deal to extend nuclear plants

Doosan Babcock signs EDF deal to extend nuclear plants

Hunterston B
Hunterston B in North Ayrshire is one of the seven power stations that Doosan Babcock will service
Doosan Babcock has agreed a £70m-a-year deal with French energy giant EDF to extend the life of seven of its eight UK nuclear power stations.

The contract will see Doosan Babcock support ongoing operations and deliver projects to aid life extension.

It covers Hinkley Point B in Somerset; Hartlepool; Hunterston B, Ayrshire; Torness, East Lothian; Heysham 1 and 2, Lancashire and Dungeness B, Kent.

Doosan Babcock said the deal would safeguard about 1,000 jobs.

Cameron Gilmour, Doosan Babcock’s nuclear service director, said: “Doosan Babcock has a long history of supporting EDF Energy in the UK nuclear sector and we are delighted to have been given this opportunity to further build our relationship.

“The lifetime enterprise agreement is the result of close collaboration and a great deal of planning from both our companies, and will give EDF Energy access to a range of specialist skills and technologies that will support its UK power generation strategy long into the future.”

Brian Cowell, director of nuclear operations at EDF Energy, said: “Doosan Babcock’s unique range of skills and capabilities in nuclear engineering, combined with its longstanding relationship with EDF Energy, makes it the ideal partner to deliver the lifetime enterprise agreement.

“The contract will enable us continue to deliver the secure, reliable, low carbon electricity the UK needs now and into the future.”

Source: BBC News

National Grid to spend £1 billion connecting Hinkley Point C

National Grid to spend £1 billion connecting Hinkley Point C

National Grid to spend £1 billion connecting Hinkley Point C

National Grid is to spend around £1 billion connecting the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to the grid.

The firm calculates it will take five to six years to link up the proposed 3GW plant, which is due to start generating in 2023 and has an estimated price tag of £16 billion.

For the first time the new ‘T-pylon’ (pictured) will be available for use on the project. National Grid said it would also use ‘undergrounding’ and other methods to keep the visual impact to a minimum.

Source: Energy Live News

EDF Energy and unions reach agreement on Hinkley Point C

EDF Energy and unions reach agreement on Hinkley Point C

EDF Energy, the GMB and Unite trade unions have reached a major new labour agreement for workers who will build the proposed new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset

The agreement applies to electrical and mechanical workers who will work on the project. It confirms their pay and conditions of employment, including welfare facilities and training.

This latest milestone follows the signing of similar agreements with unions in June 2013 for civil workers, as well as an overarching agreement establishing the framework for industrial relations for the project.

Together, the agreements play their part in EDF Energy’s commitment to work together with unions and contractors to create a climate for positive industrial relations which promotes safety, quality and productivity.

Having put these agreements in place now is an important step towards ensuring the project is ready for delivery. It demonstrates a partnership approach between EDF Energy, unions and contractors and their joint commitment to the success of the project.

Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Officer said: “This ‘Best in Class’ agreement between EDF Energy, GMB and Unite was submitted with a recommendation of acceptance to the Engineering Construction sector shop stewards, who “unanimously” endorsed that recommendation. This now paves the way for the agreement to be signed off. A similar civil construction agreement is already agreed and signed off.

“These agreements are ground breaking not only in the increased levels of pay terms and conditions compared to other agreements in the UK construction Industry, but they are bound together by a “Common Framework/Social covenant” agreement which is good solid industrial relations foundation, which binds all the agreements together, this will enhance good site wide working relationships between the trade unions, the client, and their sub-contractors, which the GMB will work fastidiously to maintain for its members.

“GMB welcome EDF Energy’s intentions to buy into the need for investment, not only in the present workforce with up-skilling, but in traditional apprentices, with proper pathways of learning to obtain their skills, these apprentices will help replace our already ageing workforce, and ensure the traditional mainline construction skills are maintained in the UK, this is a very refreshing concept, a far better result than the dark years of lack of investment by recent generations of governments and construction employers.”

Vincent de Rivaz, Chief Executive, EDF Energy, said: “This groundbreaking agreement reflects the importance that we place on partnerships with our employees and with trade unions to help deliver the UK’s first new nuclear power in a generation.

“Hinkley Point C has the potential to create 25,000 job opportunities in the UK during its construction, including over 400 apprentices, and it will create 900 jobs when operational.

“It is important that these jobs are covered by an agreement promoting the very best standards in industrial relations. I am pleased that EDF Energy, Unite and GMB will work together to provide a high class work force for the construction of Hinkley Point C and help rebuild the nation’s nuclear industry.”

Hinkley Point C Construction Director Nigel Cann said: “The signing of this engineering construction agreement is another big step for Hinkley Point C and reflects the strength of the partnership we have with Trade Unions and the companies in our supply chain.

“We all share a commitment to providing high quality employment standards, hand in hand with the best standards in health, safety, quality and productivity. This upfront collaboration gives us confidence that once we start construction, we will be able to continue without stopping.

“The collective agreements for the Hinkley Point C project like this one will also help make possible one of our fundamental objectives – to bring in new entrants to the construction workforce from the local community and to support them in acquiring new skills. This will not only help local people to raise their aspirations and to progress their careers, it will also make a significant contribution to replenishing and developing the UK industrial skills base.”

Unite national officer Kevin Coyne said: “This is a cutting edge agreement for a cutting edge new nuclear project at Hinkley Point. “It has taken many months to get the detail right but through hard work and cooperation the unions and employers have an agreement which is fit for a 21st century development to power Britain’s homes and businesses.

This agreement sets a new benchmark for pay, conditions and apprenticeships. It ensures there are at least 500 well paid apprenticeships on the project which is a massive opportunity for young people to get a skill for life. It also commits to direct employment and no agency workers which ensures the workforce are more secure and enjoy equal treatment.”

Source: Your Industry News