Monday, 1 February 2016

Treasury ruling spells final end for Hinkley C....surely?

The Treasury has, in effect, ridiculed any notion that EDF could take a final investment decision on Hinkley C within the next three years - if ever. The announcement by the Treasury that their offer of loan guarantees for the EPR at Hinkley C is linked to successful functioning of the Flamanville EPR means that short of absolute lunacy reigning at EDF HQ the power plant could not possibly be given a final go-ahead until 2018 at the earliest, and most probably never.

The date of earliest completion of the Flamanville reactor is 2018, and even that assumes that things go a lot better than they have so far. To cap this, the Treasury have said that if the reactor hasn't demonstrated it is working properly by 2020 then there will be no loan guarantee for Hinkley C. (see Sunday Times piece, link below). There is no chance of Hinkley C being funded without this - EDF haven't got anywhere near the money needed and it would be financially crazy to pay for it without the guarantees - so EDF cannot take the chance of going ahead without a firm loan guarantee.

This leaves people wondering about the motives of  EDF in announcing that they are 'restarting' work on Hinkley C. They can't do this, or at least carry on with this indefinitely. EDF is in difficult financial straits as it is without this sort of action. It is no surprise that employees and shareholders of EDF are up in arms about the prospect of a 'final investment decision' being taken by the EDF Board. They are nowhere near being able to do this - as you can see from the European Commission documents, before such a decision can be taken they have to have a signed contract with the UK Government and the agreed funding in place for the company that develops the project. None of this has happened or seems likely to happen.
EDF may manage to convince some press reporters that the show is still on the road, but, as I said in my previous post, the only explanation, in effect for EDF's behaviour is that they are desperately clinging to the notion that their (failing) EPR technology can still carry on, knowing that the alternative is the end of their dream upon which they have based their careers.

EDF now seem to be hoping that the French Government will take responsibility for not only the mounting losses from the French and Finnish (and I presume Chinese) EPR disasters AND promise to underpin the British reactor (as if it is the role of the French state to pay for crushingly expensive nuclear power stations for the UK!).

It requires quite a big nudge on Douglas Adams' 'improbability drive' to swallow all this!

For some relevant coverage, see...... (see page 9)


  1. ??

  2. is there a source or link for the HMT annoucement? thanks.