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EDF could axe Hinkley Point unless France increases funding

March 12, 2016

By Paul Homewood  




From the Telegraph:


EDF could scrap its plan to build the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear plant in the UK if the company fails to receive further funding from the French government, its chief executive has revealed.

Jean-Bernard Lévy wrote to staff explaining that he was in talks to “obtain commitments from the state to help secure our financial position” as “the financial situation is tense”. He added that he would “not engage in the [Hinkley Point] project before these conditions are met”.

The French government, which holds an 85pc stake in EDF, could purchase a stake in the Hinkley Point project or take part in a company fundraising, according to the Financial Times, which first reported news of the letter.


Hinkley, the UK’s first new nuclear plant in a generation, is scheduled to start generating 7pc of the country’s electricity in 2025 but the scheme has been mired in controversy.

Despite generous subsidies, unions in France have raised concerns over the cost of the project, which was meant to be completed in 2017 but has been repeatedly delayed.

Earlier this week the European Commission approved a partnership between EDF and China General Nuclear to build Hinkley and two other nuclear plants in the UK, reducing the French firm’s financial burden.

EDF finance director Thomas Piquemal resigned earlier this week over the firm’s plan to push ahead with Hinkley, but Mr Levy added in his letter that he still expects Hinkley to be profitable, with a return of 9pc over 60 years.

A final investment decision from EDF is due as soon as April.


As I suggested a few days ago, we are heading for a situation where the UK is reliant on French government funding for Hinkley.

How on earth did we get into this mess?

  1. March 12, 2016 2:08 pm

    I know that I am slow but ….
    As I see it EDF borrowed cash to pay the French Government dividends (85% owned) and now waits for it’s major shareholder, France, to give it money to do the Hinckley Point project.

  2. rms permalink
    March 12, 2016 2:14 pm

    “How did we get into this mess”?

    Naive leadership and decision makers. By allowing too much intervention Governments, NGOs, etc. Too many cooks and not enough real engineers.

    Best outcome. Kill the project. Now.

  3. Ex-expat Colin permalink
    March 12, 2016 2:23 pm

    This Govt and the EU unelected version simply sleep walk into one mess after another. Grab money and p8ss it up any wall available.

    Of course all fossil fuels are insecure except that under our feet. The time taken to build and gain safety approval will see us using as much insecure fossil fuel as we can get. Thats if the freaking thing ever does become safe to use. And if the population grows significantly as it looks set to it’ll need something(s) bigger, or more?

  4. March 12, 2016 3:30 pm

    “How on earth did we get into this mess?” 20+ years with 15 incompetent energy ministers with equally incompetent advisers. No power engineers involved in the decisions.

  5. Paul2 permalink
    March 12, 2016 7:23 pm

    O/T but this from 1990. From the same channel which screened The great global warming swindle. They won’t be doing shows like this again. Linked from WUWT:

  6. tom0mason permalink
    March 12, 2016 7:33 pm

    People may wish to contrast and compare how South Korea does things as they have just grid connected their APR1400 nuclear reactor. Yes it is just under half the power of Hinkley Point’s proposal but the price…

    “Nearly eight years since construction kicked off in October 2008—despite years of delays posed by delivery delays and a crippling documentation scandal that required cabling replacements—Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) put Shin Kori 3 (Figure 2) online on January 15. A twin reactor at Shin Kori 4 is expected to start up in 2017… Meanwhile, two more APR1400s are under construction at Shin Hanul (Units 1 and 2) and should come online between April 2017 and February 2018.”
    Also of note is the price…
    “According to state-owned KHNP, the APR1400 evolved from the “well-proven” OPR1000 Korean Standard Nuclear Power Plant design, taking just 10 years and 234.6 billion won…”
    — about £139.5 million(!), to develop.

  7. March 12, 2016 7:44 pm

    It just keeps getting worse…

    The cost of the project exceeds what EDF is worth. All the experts are saying – hang on, is this going to work?

  8. John F. Hultquist permalink
    March 13, 2016 2:53 am

    For help with your energy problems, see: Deus ex machina

  9. 2hmp permalink
    March 13, 2016 9:04 am

    the sooner this whole project is stopped the better. All the money spent already is down the drain anyway. Next step – repeal the Climate Change Act.

  10. March 16, 2016 4:50 am

    As the old Punch magazine used to put it “Another sign that the Sun has Set on the British Empire”
    The rot started when Margaret Thatcher sold off the people’s property, owned by the Central Electricity Generating Board. It went worse when, by my private hypothesis, the EU was clandestinely taken over by the coal barons of Germany. That’s why wind and solar (Solar? in Britain?) became the favoured technologies. Coal and Gas know perfectly well that they are no threat.

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