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Opposition hardens to Hinkley post Brexit

July 5, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




From PEI:


The influential trade union presence on the board of EDF are stepping up their opposition to the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project in the UK, following Brexit.

FT reports that the CGT, CFE-CGC and the FO unions issued a joint statement on Thursday saying the Brexit vote added “new elements of uncertainty” to the £18bn project and argued again for postponement of sign-off.
Flags of UK and EU
The union members who hold six seats of the 18 on EDF’s board said Britain’s vote to leave
the EU makes it “more necessary than ever” for EDF to delay making a final investment decision.

The beleaguered project has suffered delay and opposition at every turn. The union’s main gripe is that the EPR reactor technology that will be used is still untested, with no working example in the world.

The EDF workers’ committee — an official body within the company made up largely of union members — is legally obliged to give its official opinion on whether Hinkley Point should go ahead on July 4.

Last week the committee filed a legal claim to try to delay that decision. It alleged that EDF has “refused” to give the body key documents about Hinkley Point C.

EDF has rejected the allegations. A court hearing about the workers’ committee claim is scheduled for September 22.

Despite Emmanuel Macron, France’s economy minister insisting Brexit will have “no consequences” for the project, government colleagues don’t appear to totally share the conviction that the FID be made.  Michel Sapin, the French finance minister, said the project had become “more difficult” following the Brexit vote.

Meanwhile there is now a question mark about the legal status of the UK’s legally binding goal to reduce carbon emissions, made before the country opted out of the bloc.

The move was dismissed as potentially “unlawful” by the think-tank founded by Nigel Lawson, the former Tory Chancellor and a member of the Leave campaign’s strategy committee.

The goal was “based on the now incorrect assumption that the UK will still be in the EU by 2030”, the foundation said. It also assumed the UK would remain in the EU emissions trading scheme, the world’s largest carbon market, and be “covered by the EU’s Paris agreement terms”, it said.

The EU has collectively agreed to cut emissions 40 per cent by 2030 as part of its commitment to the Paris climate change accord agreed in December.

EDF told Power Engineering International they had no comment to make on the latest union statement.

"We have nothing to add to what Vincent de Rivaz told the Energy Select Committee. Jean Bernard Levy made it very clear last week that Brexit had not changed the company’s outlook."


Whoever the new PM is, and whatever happens with Brexit negotiations, the first thing they need to do is start a total rethink of our energy policy. It is looking increasingly unlikely whether Hinkley will ever get off the ground, and if it does not, a huge black hole is going to appear in the UK’s power base.

It is totally unacceptable that the French trade unions, government or courts should be in a position to block what amounts to 7% of the UK’s power supply.

  1. Richard Mallett permalink
    July 5, 2016 4:17 pm

    Is it totally unacceptable that our power supply will be 7% less without Hinckley than with it ? What are the alternatives (if any) ?

    • AlecM permalink
      July 5, 2016 4:50 pm

      There is an alternative whilst we develop our own mini-nuke industry (submarine reactors up to 400 MW; about 10 years). I’ll tell you about it later**…..:o)

      **As it’ll make about 2/3rds of wind farms bankrupt, thereby allowing a reduction of subsidies as they are recapitalised, the existing players are desperately trying to kill off the interloper, which requires no subsidies and acts as low cost standby for the windmills.)

    • July 5, 2016 4:57 pm

      Coal, gas.

      • Richard Mallett permalink
        July 5, 2016 5:58 pm

        I thought we were shutting down coal fired power stations, or converting them to burn wood chips imported from America ?

      • July 5, 2016 6:15 pm

        That’s why we’re so desperate for nuclear baseload!!

        If we offered CCGT plants half the CfD price offered to Hinkley, ie £50/MWh for 30 yrs, we would get the 30 new plants that DECC need built straightaway.

        But, of course, this does not meet the demands of the Climate Change Act.

      • July 5, 2016 8:44 pm

        Coal fired power stations could still be recovered and save the country billions, however the greenies run the meja and government and they are desperate to remove that possibility.

        It would be most amusing to open discussions with Russia and China for our nuclear stations and see how USA reacts.

  2. July 6, 2016 7:59 am

    China could step in if France drops the Hinkley Point project, according to this report.

  3. A C Osborn permalink
    July 6, 2016 10:33 am

    Please let this happen, they haven’t even got a properly working version of this Reactor and our stupid, ignorant government wants to buy one at £19Billion and pay for it’s output at twice the going rate.
    Still, it’s only tax payers money isn’t it?

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