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Nuclear cost increases 'sucking up funds' from sustainable developments

category international | environment | press release author Thursday October 10, 2019 22:09author by foie - Friends of the Irish Environmentauthor address Friends of the Irish Environment, Kilcatherine, Eyeries, Cork P75 CX53, Ireland Report this post to the editors

Press Release - Friends of the Irish Environment 10th Oct 2019

UK Nuclear plant ‘delaying transition to renewable energy’
£2.9 billion increase in cost since 2017 ‘sucking up’ funds from sustainable developments

The environmental charity Friends of the Irish Environment [FIE] have highlighted the rising cost and delays in construction of the new UK nuclear plant, Hinkley C, as ‘sucking up funds from sustainable developments’ and ‘delaying transition to renewable energy’.

FIE made a site visit last week to the nuclear construction site on the Severn Estuary in Somerset as a follow up to their complaint to the Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context which led to public consultation by the UK Government on the proposed plant being extended to the Irish Republic. [1]

Friends of the Irish Environment - Press Release - 10 October 2019
For Immediate Release


UK Nuclear plant ‘delaying transition to renewable energy’
£2.9 billion increase in cost since 2017 ‘sucking up’ funds from sustainable developments

The environmental charity Friends of the Irish Environment [FIE] have highlighted the rising cost and delays in construction of the new UK nuclear plant, Hinkley C, as ‘sucking up funds from sustainable developments’ and ‘delaying transition to renewable energy’.

FIE made a site visit last week to the nuclear construction site on the Severn Estuary in Somerset as a follow up to their complaint to the Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context which led to public consultation by the UK Government on the proposed plant being extended to the Irish Republic. [1]

In a statement released last week, French Energy Company EDF said the total cost of the Hinkley C nuclear power plant had risen to between £21.5bn and 22.5bn, up £2.9bn since the previous estimate in 2017. The company said the completion of the plant could be delayed by another 15 months. [2]

The site is the largest construction project in Europe with more than 4,000 workers currently employed.

Challenging conditions
‘Costs increases reflect challenging conditions which made earthworks more expensive than anticipated, revised action plan targets and extra costs needed to implement the complete functional design, which has been adapted for a first-of-a-kind application in the UK context,’ a statement from the company said.

Work has started to install the 38,000 concrete segments required to support the three underground marine tunnels at up to 33 metres below the seabed of the Bristol Channel. The tunnels will have the capacity to transfer 120,000 litres of water per second.

EDF hope the new nuclear power plant, which will power up to 6 million homes, will still be completed by 2025, but say the risk of that being moved back to 2026 has increased.

FIE points out that ‘there is increased pressure from the renewable energy sector. In an auction for UK government contracts last week the cost of supporting new offshore windfarms from the mid-2020s fell by a third to record lows of about £40 per megawatt hour of electricity last week - which is less than the price of electricity in the wholesale energy market. [3]

‘Consequently, new offshore wind projects will be under “zero-subsidy” support contracts within the next four years. Hinkley C has a government contract that guarantees a set price of £92.50 for every megawatt hour of electricity produced – more than twice windfarms.’

Diverting investment
FIE Director Tony Lowes said that ‘this is just what Ireland does not need. The €22 billion cost of this one plant could have made deployment possible of a secure balance of genuine renewable energy sources, driving prices down even further. Hinkley C and the 50 other nuclear reactors under construction are sucking investment into unsustainable and dangerous sources of energy.’

COMMENT
Friends of the Irish Environment: Tony Lowes 353 (0)27 74771 / 353 (0)87 2176316
Daithí Ó hÉalaithe (Irish language) +353 (0)87 6178852

Editors Notes
[1] Britain’s failure to consult Irish citizens on nuclear plant breached international law
https://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/26126

[2] EDF Press Release 25 September, 2019
https://www.edf.fr/en/edf/update-on-hinkley-point-c-project

[3] New windfarms will not cost billpayers after subsidies hit record low
Cost of supporting offshore turbines drops to less than market price for electricity
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/20/new-windfarms-taxpayers-subsidies-record-low
Copyright © 2019 Friends of the Irish Environment, All rights reserved.
Press Release

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Friends of the Irish Environment
Kilcatherine
Eyeries, Cork P75 CX53
Ireland

Related Link: https://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/press-releases/17710-uk-nuclear-plant-delaying-transition-to-renewable-energy
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