Tag Archives: Hinkley Point nuclear plant

Who Pays for Worst Case Scenario: nuclear waste at Hinkley Point

Hinkley Point C. image from EDF

Taxpayers will pick up the bill should the cost of storing radioactive waste produced by Britain’s newest nuclear power station soar, according to confidential documents which the government has battled to keep secret for more than a year.The papers confirm the steps the government took to reassure French energy firm EDF and Chinese investors behind the £24bn Hinkley Point C plant that the amount they would have to pay for the storage would be capped…

[The government]  released a “Nuclear Waste Transfer Pricing Methodology Notification Paper”. Marked “commercial in confidence”, it states that “unlimited exposure to risks relating to the costs of disposing of their waste in a GDF [geological disposal facility], could not be accepted by the operator as they would prevent the operator from securing the finance necessary to undertake the project”.

Instead the document explains that there will be a “cap on the liability of the operator of the nuclear power station which would apply in a worst-case scenario”. It adds: “The UK government accepts that, in setting a cap, the residual risk, of the very worst-case scenarios where actual cost might exceed the cap, is being borne by the government.”Separate documents confirm that the cap also applies should the cost of decommissioning the reactor at the end of its life balloo….Hinkley Point C developers face £7.2bn cleanup bill at end of nuclear plant’s life

Excerpt from Secret government papers show taxpayers will pick up costs of Hinkley nuclear waste storage, The Guardian, Oct. 30, 2016

Nuclear Power Plants and Trojan Horses

Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station. image from wikipedia

The British government in July 2016 cast doubt on the future of a controversial 18-billion pound ($24 billion) project led by Electricite de France SA to build Britain’s first nuclear power plant in more than 20 years… Concern about China General Nuclear Power Corp.’s minority stake in the project may have been among reasons for the delay….
The Chinese company’s main involvement will be in the supply chain, providing some components for Hinkley, said Malcolm Grimston, senior research fellow at Imperial College London’s center for environmental policy. Operation of the facility would be in the hands of EDF, which has been in U.K. for years, he said. “The Chinese see Hinkley C as first step towards their goal of building a nuclear station using Chinese technology in the U.K. and as a stepping stone to starting a plant export business to rival the Russians, the Japanese and the French,” said Grimston. “I’m not sure what their motivation would be” to halt an operational power plant “given their interest in being seen as a trustworthy partner.”
The strategic investment agreement reached by EDF and state-owned CGN in October 2016 was to build three new nuclear power stations in the U.K., including a 1 gigawatt plant at Bradwell that the Chinese company would build using its own technology and take a 66.5 percent stake. Chinese reactor designs haven’t yet been approved by the British nuclear regulator, a process which could take at least three years.

Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative member of parliament for Harwich and North Essex, near the proposed Bradwell plant, last year urged the government to assess the security implications of a Chinese designed, owned and operated technology. It could be a “Trojan horse” used to threaten the U.K at a time of critical disagreement or conflict, he said. …
The U.K. government agreed to pay 92.50 pounds for every megawatt-hour of electricity produced from Hinkley Point for 35 years, about twice the current market rate. That contract has been widely criticized after data published on a government website last month showed this subsidy could cost more than 30 billion pounds.

Excerpts from Is China’s Role in Hinkley Point Really a Security Threat?, Bloomberg, Aug. 5, 2016

Nuclear Energy Politics: the subsidies

Hinkley Point nuclear energy station, image from wikipedia

A German energy cooperative will take legal action against the European Commission for approving state aid for a 16 billion pound ($25 billion) nuclear power plant in Britain…arguing it threatens to distort competition.  The project, to be built by French utility EDF at Hinkley Point in southwest England, is crucial for Britain’s plan to replace a fifth of its ageing nuclear power and coal plants in the coming decade while reducing carbon emissions. The plan to pay a guaranteed price for power produced at the plant faces opposition from some other countries and some EU policymakers, as well as some other energy suppliers.

“Highly subsided nuclear power from this plant will noticeably distort European competitiveness,” said Soenke Tangermann, managing director of Greenpeace Energy, which describes itself as Germany’s largest national independent energy cooperative. Tangermann said it would affect prices at the power exchange in Germany and could also set a precedent. “This effect will have economic disadvantages for committed green power providers like us,” he said in a statement. He added the group would file a plea for annulment at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg as soon the Commission’s approval was published.

Excerpt from German energy cooperative plans legal action over UK nuclear plan, Reuters, Mar. 4, 2015