Campaigners opposed to the £18bn development of Hinkley Point C power station near Burnham-On-Sea have vowed to keep up their fight on.
The Stop Hinkley campaign has declared its campaign against the proposals to build a new nuclear station at Hinkley Point C are far from over – despite a multi-billion pound deal for Hinkley Point C being signed this week with Chinese help.
Stop Hinkley spokesperson Roy Pumfrey told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “There is still every possibility that this reckless plan will be defeated.”
“This will be the eighth time that EDF Energy has announced that a final investment decision is just around the corner.”
“Jean-Bernard Levy, chairman of EDF, claims that hundreds of workers could be starting work on the construction of two new reactors at the site by the end of the year, but given the number of issues still to be resolved one has to wonder which year he is talking about.”
“Levy’s claims were not repeated in the EDF press release, which instead listed a number of conditions we know will take one or more years to fulfil, so if work does resume this year it will only be on a very slow cosmetic basis.”
The campaign group added that much remains to be negotiated and many hurdles remain.
“Among them are flawed steel being identified on the reactor pressure vessel and lid of an identical nuclear reactor being built in Flamanville in Normandy. This could take 12 – 24 months to resolve and no work could start at Hinkley Point until these safety issues are resolved in France,” said Mr Pumfrey.
“Also, due to severe financial difficulties and huge levels of debt, the French Government has commenced a restructuring of EDF and Areva NP into a merged company. This will also take some considerable time to achieve, and is a major reason why the UK was so desperate to secure Chinese investment.”
“Furthermore, a legal challenge to the European Commission by the Austrian and Luxembourg Governments, and a group of Austrian and German renewable energy companies, over its approval of the state aid deal for Hinkley Point will take at least a year or more to resolve. If the courts find against the Commission the whole financing deal will be placed in jeopardy. Construction cannot seriously begin until the complete financing agreement is in place, and that cannot be signed before all legal challenges have been resolved.”
“Also, a reliability clause is likely within the contract. This will be linked in to the prior successful EPR operation being constructed at Flamanville-3 in France. This nuclear reactor project is now years behind schedule and billions over budget in being realised. EDF has asked for a formal three year delay in this project, being it will not be completed until at least 2020, 13 years after construction began.”
Pictured: A Hinkley Point protest by protesters (pics Paul Glendell)