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EDF to keep four UK nuclear plants open for years longer

February 16, 2016
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By Paul Homewood 

 

h/t Paul2 

 

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35583740

 

From the BBC: 

 

French energy firm EDF will extend the life of four of its eight nuclear power plants in the UK.

The move will safeguard 2,000 jobs and help with tight energy supplies.

Heysham 1 and Hartlepool will have their life extended by five years until 2024, while Heysham 2 and Torness will see their closure dates pushed back by seven years to 2030.

Meanwhile, EDF said its 2015 profits fell 68% to €1.18bn mainly due to writedowns on coal-fired plants.

The results were below analysts’ expectations.

The value of plants in the UK, Italy, Poland and Belgium fell, and the company also took charges on its Edison oil and gas exploration business.

EDF will cut its dividend by 15 cents to €1.10 a share with an option for payment in new shares rather than cash.

Its shares have fallen almost 25% since the start of the year.

 

The announcement comes amid concern about the amount of energy available to keep the lights on, due to the closure of many of Britain’s ageing power plants.

Meanwhile, EDF has yet to finalise the investment for a new nuclear plant to be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

It has agreed a deal in principle under which China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) will pay a third of the cost of the £18bn project in exchange for a 33.5% stake.

An EDF board meeting to approve the plan earlier this year is thought to have been postponed. Reports suggested the company was struggling to find the cash for its 66.5% stake.

The company said on Tuesday: "Hinkley Point C is a strong project which is fully ready for a final investment decision and successful construction. Final steps are well in hand to enable the full construction phase to be launched very soon."

However, Paul Dorfman of the UCL Energy Institute, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: "Unfortunately, with the best will in the world, it may just not happen. Chris Bakken, the man charged by EDF to construct Hinkley Point, has quit to spend more time with his family, EDF shares have crashed to half their value a year ago; the budget for Hinkley alone is bigger than EDF’s entire market value.

"Areva – EDF’s construction arm – has been bankrupted by the huge costs and time overruns for the same brand of reactor they want to build at Hinkley, so it seems there’s a good chance that it simply may not happen."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35583740

 

The four plants have combined capacity of 4.7GW, and the announcement had been long expected.

But what is more significant is confirmation of the ongoing problems with Hinkley Point.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2016 11:51 am

    The AGR has proved itself and is capable of greater efficiency than the PWR. The UK have designs for the AGR, we have sold the Westinghouse PWR design to Japan and are now dependent upon a struggling / possibly terminally-ill French design: looks like the AGR should be re-visited as a UK project, or possibly, longer term, the Rolls Royce submarine power unit.

    Alternatively, the Russian FBR technology would look good (well it would if it was American).

    The Coal fired power stations could operate for another 20 years with minimal cost, but that would mean scrapping the CCA and applying economic sense.

    Realistically , let’s hope that the wind blows steadily for the next few years, (more wind in the day and less at night of course and lots of winter sun too).

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      February 17, 2016 4:14 am

      Perhaps the UK Government could pass a Wind Change Act to ensure adequate amounts of wind at all times? Don’t spread that thought around or they will start drafting the Act.

  2. Paul2 permalink
    February 16, 2016 2:43 pm

    I suspect the government are in the first stages of bricking it such is their panic move to keep these stations open. Oddly, on the news they describe these four power stations as providing a total of a quarter of the nations electricity supply. Not sure about that.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      February 16, 2016 2:49 pm

      If Paul’s figure is correct it is about 8%-10%, still a substantial contribution, about the same as all the wind turbines when they are working the way they are today.

    • February 16, 2016 3:26 pm

      It’s a quarter of “homes” rather than a quarter of total demand, which is the usual wind industry way of hyping up capacity.

      Domestic users only take about a third of total demand, so a quarter of a third = about 8%!

  3. glenwaytown permalink
    February 16, 2016 7:16 pm

    I wonder how much it will cost to extend the life beyond the design life. I assume EdF were not shutting them without reason. Or maybe Rudd is panicking and has promised them a free pass on any technical issues.

  4. margie permalink
    February 17, 2016 3:25 pm

    Floods notwithstanding…..a good read in terms of why floods help clear out badly ruined areas in Cumbria

    http://www.theecologist.org/campaigning/2986745/cumbria_flooding_environment_agency_issues_alert_on_drigg_nuclear_waste_site.html

    Fracking is being set up in high flood zones so frackers too can get away with flood damage that will wash away frack fluid, not matter how highly radioactive, as it is very costly to have disposed of properly.

    We have a government which is content to take our taxes, run to bank it and give it to third world countries for offsetting carbon emissions, all the while it is allowing the worst regulations on the planet to wreck the UK landmass.

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