Greenpeace versus Hinkley C
At this point in time, there is no more important reactor than Hinkley Point C. This proposed reactor will be the most expensive construction project ever. It was to be financed by the Chinese and build by the French nuclear giant, Electricity de France (EdF). In an earlier blog post I listed a handful of things which are wrong with this venture. These included:
- It is far more expensive than wind and solar in the UK right now
- No reactors of this type are running anywhere in the world.
- All 4 reactors of this type under construction are years late and billions over budget
- The pressure vessel planned for the reactor was flawed and had to be removed
- The Chinese funding and design is a national security risk for the UK
- The project needs huge subsidies, despite the “no subsidy promise” from the government.
This blog post did not include subsequent developments including:
- The new UK Prime Minister called for a review of Hinkley, post Brexit
- EDF executives testified the proposal should be postponed
- Of 18 total union reps on the EDF board, six voted against the project
- EDF’s CFO resigned over Hinkley as did one company director
- The Chinese funder just got indicted in the US for nuclear espionage
- EDFs stock has dropped 35% in the last year, endangering project finances
You would think with all these problems Hinkley would be dead. You would be terribly underestimating the political power of nuclear projects. Hinkley might still be approved and so, in this critical window, Greenpeace called on its members (including me) and we chipped in to buy a full page ad in the London Times.
It is not much of an exaggeration to say the future of nuclear construction in the western world depends on this project. If the largest builder of nuclear plants (EdF), with the most generous funder (China), can’t build a reactor in a willing country (UK), then prospects are pretty bleak anywhere else.