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Hinkley Point C To Go Ahead After Edf Board Approves Project

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I didn't think that any agreements so far were binding. However, EDF have reportedly spent several £ billion already on the project.

There have been close to 1000 workers at the site for the last couple of years doing preparatory groundworks and excavations. Then there has been the ton of money spent on site-specific design, public liaison and supply chain development, planning enquiries, additional infrastructure engineering and planning for the grid works to connect it, etc.

Those works could apply themsleves to more than one use though...no? Just asking? Or maybe we EVEN HAVE A SHOT AT BUILDING IT WITH OUR OWN MONEY!! Shock horreur..

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I am utterly despairing of this situation.

We're only asking for £6 billion from the Chinese to build Hinckley.

And that's over 50 years - so £120 million a year - which is a small fraction of a rounding error on the national accounts.

Yet we are willing to jeopardise national security for this piddling sum.

What was Osborne thinking? Did he have some other agenda? (ideological or otherwise)

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I am utterly despairing of this situation.

We're only asking for £6 billion from the Chinese to build Hinckley.

And that's over 50 years - so £120 million a year - which is a small fraction of a rounding error on the national accounts.

Yet we are willing to jeopardise national security for this piddling sum.

What was Osborne thinking? Did he have some other agenda? (ideological or otherwise)

Given that the cost of sovereign borrowing is currently near zero why not just borrow it? Or print it with some more QE , that's surely coming anyway once the house of cards that is the banking system starts to wobble again ....

Building the damn thing would seem to be a no-brainer - there is going to be a shortfall in generation capacity which needs to be addressed, it can be (sort of) presented to the public as an eco friendly scheme (hey, look, no CO2 emissions!) and it will create bucket loads of jobs.

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I am utterly despairing of this situation.

We're only asking for £6 billion from the Chinese to build Hinckley.

And that's over 50 years - so £120 million a year - which is a small fraction of a rounding error on the national accounts.

Yet we are willing to jeopardise national security for this piddling sum.

What was Osborne thinking? Did he have some other agenda? (ideological or otherwise)

The last PM and cabinet were pinning everything on Chinese money and growth bailing out the UK, we were cuddling up and courting favour in a rather embarrassing way, we may still be doing so. I'm in favour of nuclear and renewables, but not by taking on Chinese or any other credit.

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Given that the cost of sovereign borrowing is currently near zero why not just borrow it? Or print it with some more QE , that's surely coming anyway once the house of cards that is the banking system starts to wobble again ....

Building the damn thing would seem to be a no-brainer - there is going to be a shortfall in generation capacity which needs to be addressed, it can be (sort of) presented to the public as an eco friendly scheme (hey, look, no CO2 emissions!) and it will create bucket loads of jobs.

I think that's where the ideology comes in. It makes much more sense to borrow it. But Osbourne pinned his reputation on lowering the deficit. So the idea is to get as much of the balance sheet as possible, even if it ultimately means a crap deal for the taxpayer, because that allows him greater chance of being able to claim he made his target.

Maybe the takeover by Hammond and the declaration that we will no longer stick to the plans on deficit reduction has as much to do with the rethink as security concerns. The problem is, you need something to use as a smokescreen (security) - otherwise you have to fess up to the fact that Osbournes original plan was not to get a great deal for the taxpayer, but to make it look like he was achieving his targets.

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The government has officially asked the office for nuclear regulation to begin the formal licensing and assessment process for the HPR1000 nuclear plant (formerly known as Hualong 1) with a view to construction at Bradwell in Essex.

A prototype is under construction at Fuqing, Fujian and is expected to be operational by 2019.

Some brief info about the HPR1000: https://www.iaea.org/NuclearPower/Downloadable/Meetings/2015/2015-09-01-09-03-NPTDS41894/DAY2/10_Chinas_Nuclear_Power_Development_and_Hualong_One_(HPR1000).pdf

From a basic design concept it looks better than the EPR intended for HPC - though, obviously, the devil is in the detail - and there are quite a lot of details. However, the plant concept boasts a 72 hour "plant autonomy" time (i.e. time needed to respond to a severe accident by restoration of electrical power or provision of cooling water) compared to about 2-12 hours for the EPR, and the estimates of "core damage frequency" and "large release frequency" are also somewhat less than for the EPR design.

As an aside, Hinkley Point C may well be the last EPR reactors built as the designer has announced that they are now working on a redesigned EPR Mk2 to make it more buildable and beef up the safety features to more closely compare with its competitors. 

 

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Toshiba has suffered a bit of a shocker, and is likely to pull out of the construction of a proposed plant at Moorside in Cumbria. It is currently a 60% shareholder in the consortium proposing to build it, but having suffered catastrophic losses on trying to sell their reactor in the US, they appear to be bailing out of financing the project, although apparently, they are still planning to offer the technology to use, if someone else wants to pay to build it (i.e. it appears they are prepared to act as technology vendor if not financier/operator).

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-38967305

Edited by ChumpusRex

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Last week saw installation of the first nuclear grade concrete on the HPC site.

The Moorside project appears to be in a state of near collapse. Following the bankruptcy of Toshiba's subsidiary Westinghouse, and Toshiba looking to get out of the nuclear plant market, financing is looking uncertain. After Engie, the French utility with a 40% stake in the project pulled out, Toshiba have been left as 100% owner. It's hard to see that this project has much more life in it than a doornail. 

So where now? Rumour has been that the Korean company Kepco might step up. The problem is that Kepco is a reactor vendor as well as operator. Would it be reasonable to expect them to finance a project to build a competitor's reactor? Kepco haven't submitted their own design to the ONR for approval, so it would be at least 10 years to get a construction licence if they wanted to go ahead with their APR1400 design. 

Conceivably, Kepco might act as project manager if someone else was to bankroll the project and pay Kepco the project management fees. The problem is that worldwide all the Westinghouse AP1000 reactors are hopelessly delayed, with none particularly close to completion.

Perhaps they might consider going for the French EPR design like HPC? These are also hopelessly delayed, but there are now 2 which are fully complete and are well into the commissioning phase, with a 3rd already undergoing commissioning of some subsystems while final construction is completed. There may be supply chain advantages to this approach, as at least with the EPR, the detailed design work needed for the UK variant has already been performed, and EDF are already well on the way to building their own supply chain.

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On 09/04/2017 at 5:10 PM, ChumpusRex said:

Last week saw installation of the first nuclear grade concrete on the HPC site.

...

Very interesting, thanks.

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Telegraph:  China mulls Moorside nuclear rescue deal to deepen roots in UK plants

Quote

CGN [China General Nuclear] joins South Korea’s Kepco which voiced an interest in the project earlier this summer.

The South Korean state-backed utility has harboured an interest in Moorside since 2013, but said it would want to use its own nuclear design rather than one made by Toshiba’s Westinghouse nuclear business.

Westinghouse plunged into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US earlier this year after amassing losses of $9bn (£6.6bn) for Toshiba due to a string of struggling US projects.

The deal would hand CGN access to a fourth nuclear project in the UK. It has already teamed up with EDF Energy to finance a third of the Hinkley Point C project and a fifth of its Sizewell B nuclear plans.

In the future CGN also plans to lead the plans to build the Bradwell C nuclear plant in Essex with a 66pc stake in the venture.

At Moorside CGN is also likely to want to use its own reactor design, in order to prove its mettle to other prospective new markets. However, it will take at least four years before CGN’s reactor design could be approved by the nuclear authority for use in the UK.

A lengthy approval process would also be required of a Kepco reactor design which could derail the 2025 start date by at least two years in a further blow to the UK’s new nuclear ambitions

 

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