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"Funding problems will add to overall concerns about UK nuclear project delays and costs"

"France wants the British government to take on a greater share the cost of developing new nuclear reactors in the UK, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

“There needs to be a fair sharing of the costs,” he said at an event marking the 50th anniversary of the International Energy Agency in Paris.

The mounting UK costs are proving controversial with French taxpayers as the company is state-owned.

Mr Le Maire said discussions would take place with his British counterpart about future funding.

Downing Street said last month that Britain has no plans to provide loan guarantees for the Hinkley Point C nuclear plan project to ease the financing costs on EDF.

EDF is struggling with the costs for the Hinkley C reactor after its Chinese partners in the project stopped funding.

The move followed the UK government’s decision to take over the Chinese stake at Sizewell C in Suffolk, removing the Chinese state-owned company of its entire role in the project.

The Hinkley plant in Somerset, under construction since 2016, is now expected to be finished by 2031 and cost up to £35bn. When approval was first given in 2016 the cost was estimated at £18bn. Since then the pandemic, inflation and Brexit have all added to its costs.

EDF is also seeking funding for the Sizewell C project in Suffolk – another reactor project at Sizewell.

Funding problems will add to overall concerns about UK nuclear project delays and costs. The UK has said nuclear power will deliver a quarter of the national electricity demand by 2050.

Those concerns grew when MPs on the parliamentary Enviroment Audit committee (EAC) warned that a planned fleet of small nuclear reactors are unlikely to contribute to hitting the target.

Their report said the governments’ approach to developing small modular reactors (SMR) “lacks clarity” and their role in hitting a goal of moving the grid to clean energy by 2035 was unclear.

Ministers’ argue the SMR’s, which it is currently running a contract competition for, will make future nuclear power stations easier and cheaper to build.

The committee said as no commercial orders for SMR have yet been placed anywhere in the world, the claims for their benefits remains unproven and called for all value for money assessments be published for parliamentary and public scrutiny before any decisions to commit public money are made.

Philip Dunne, EAC chair, said: “The UK has the opportunity to be a genuine world leader in the manufacture of SMR nuclear capability with great export potential.”

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson said: “The UK is the majority shareholder in the development of Sizewell C, having made available £2.5bn – the first direct state backing of a nuclear project in over 30 years.

“Hinkley Point C is not a government project so any additional costs or schedule overruns are the responsibility of EDF and its partners. We have a strong relationship with France in civil nuclear and we continue to engage with international allies on a number of issues.”": https://inews.co.uk/news/business/france-wants-britain-to-pay-its-fair-share-of-nuclear-power-costs-2904841

The ridiculous disparity in the resourcing of sustainable compared to unsustainable energy production (and make no mistake nuclear power is unsustainable), I successfully employed in a class-debate my 6th form geography teacher arranged for us following a number of unscheduled arguments between myself and the majority of the rest of the class concerning the future of energy production (a majority I overturned almost completely as a result of the debate), in 1984, still exists despite the huge increase (Nb. only as a percentage of previous levels), of investment in sustainable systems.

It’s in the Telegraph too (behind a paywall): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2024/02/13/france-tell-uk-pay-taxpayer-cash-fund-nuclear-power-station/


Very interesting Gerard.

“It comes after it emerged that the costs at Hinkley Point C had surged to £46bn, significantly more than the £18bn proposed when contracts were signed in 2016.”

That’s nuclear for you. Everything is sustainable, if you pour enough money in, indefinitely.

Though I suppose even then you’re still eventually swamped by the radioactive waste. It’s always seemed to me to be putting a sell-by date on the planet.


I think we will find it’s also “unsustainable” in that the degree of exposure of the environment from leaks and accidents (in other words that which is not otherwise -“safely” is a clear misnomer in that guaranteeing against rupture for 100,000 years or more is far beyond that which we can in any way regard as credible- stored), as a result of continued nuclear power production cannot be supported by the ecosystem (of which we are, of-course, a part).

Absolutely. Whatever long term ‘safety’ measures are put in place would always be subject to economic stability of the country responsible. In the present climate that stability is looking less reliable than ever.
What happens when it appears that we can no longer ‘afford’ the standards of safety and elaborate disposal plans? They will be weakened.

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The same applies to the nuclear weapons they enable for, surely, the longer we have such weapons the more likely an incident of some kind becomes… & today: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ukraine-zaphorizhzhia-nuclear-power-plant-iaea-b2500376.html