Point expansion deal under threat from EU ruling
European Commission is close to concluding that Britains
nuclear expansion programme at Hinkley Point breaches EU state
aid rules and may have to be revised, a move that could lead to
long delays and even cause the complex deal to unravel, according
to national press reports this week.
EU competition police are examining a string of subsidies tied
to the Governments £16bn agreement with French groups
EDF and Areva as well as Chinas General Nuclear Power to
build two new generation EPR reactors. These would be the first
reactors to be built in Britain since 1995, providing 7% of the
in Brussels told the Daily Telegraph that the chief concern
is a £10bn loan guarantee for the construction of the plants,
insurance against a meltdown, help with decommissioning costs
and the inflation-linked 'strike price' of £92.50 per megawatt
hour for 35 years.
investigation is being conducted by officials at the competition
directorate. They are expected to issue an initial verdict in
January, paving the way for a broader inquiry. Any decision requires
backing by the 'college' of EU commissioners.
team is looking at the broader shape of the Hinkley deal and whether
state support on this scale is needed for the project to go ahead.
Oettinger, the EUs energy commissioner, warned last month
that "35-year feed-in tariffs may be a problem", adding
that the EU might do better to invest more in wind and gas. He
earlier described the UK nuclear deal as a throw-back to the "Soviet"
move to delay or unpick the deal could lead to a serious political
showdown between London and Brussels, adding to the tense mood
as Britains referendum on EU membership approaches.