Contracts to build a third nuclear power station at Hinkley Point – on the Somerset Coast just 16 miles from Penarth – are not, after all, going to be signed today.
There are already two existing nuclear power stations on the same site:-
“Hinkley Point A” is an old Magnox station built in the early sixties which no longer produces power and is the process of being decommissioned.
“Hinkley Point B” is a so-called “second generation” Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactor which is currently in operation. Building work began on this station in 1967 and it began feeding power to the National Grid in 1976 .
Today a contract was due to be signed for the construction of “Hinkley Point C” – a new double-reactor station which the French energy company EDF won planning approval to build in 2013 . It is supposed to be large enough to power 6,000,000 homes
EDF had a lot of trouble in putting together the capital of £18,000,000,000 to build the huge project. The Chinese are putting up a third of the cash. Ultimately however the scheme will be paid for by UK electricity consumers in higher energy bills .
EDF finance director, Thomas Piquemal, has quit his job – apparently believing that the project could damage the company. Another board member Gerard Magnin, resigned this week, saying the project was financially “very risky” – but EDF pressed ahead.
Having finally got ready to sign a deal with the UK Government, the French now find their customer – the UK Government – has gone cold on the contract and wants some more time to think about it – at least until the “early autumn”.