EDF’s Hinkley Excuses undermine its case at sizewell

25 September 2019: EDF’s announcement today about the risks of cost and time overruns at Hinkley Point undermine its own arguments in favour of proposed twin EPR build at Sizewell C, where the fourth – and final – stage of public consultations ends this Friday, 27 September.

EDF has been giving assurances that the cost increases at Hinkley Point would not hit the consumer, [1] yet EDF is known to be pinning its hopes for financing Sizewell C on the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) under which consumers would pay for Sizewell from the outset. 

“Today’s news shows all of us that using RAB for Sizewell C is a terrible idea; the government seriously needs to think again about using this model for new nuclear, where price setting would be such a regulatory minefield, given that on EDF’s EPRs the cost overruns and delays are of such epic proportions. And these risks are in addition to the huge risks of building twin reactors in such an environmentally sensitive location as Sizewell” said Alison Downes of Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS) [2]

Paul Spence of EDF’s comments also highlight the possibility of Sizewell being delayed, saying the company would be “taking the Hinkley Point design which will be absolutely completed at that point and taking the same team to Sizewell as the best way to get a low cost construction”. 

“EDF’s comments proves that the schedule for Sizewell will be wholly dependent on the schedule for Hinkley, adding yet more uncertainty, especially as further delays at Hinkley cannot be ruled out. Local people are already cynical about the benefits of Sizewell C if EDF is reliant on utilising its existing Hinkley workforce and supply chain to save money in Suffolk. Coupled with the release today of a report by the Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation outlining potential impacts on tourism [3], we are forced to conclude that the promised economic benefits of Sizewell C are very unlikely to be felt in the immediate area, and will be overwhelmingly outweighed by the negative impacts” added Alison Downes.

1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0008nwz at 8.41 of the interview with EDF’s Paul Spence 
2. TEAGS has prepared a briefing on RAB, outlining the specific risks for potential new investors of EDF’s Sizewell C project, which is beset by major challenges being in a location known for its restricted size, environmental sensitivity and limited infrastructure. See https://teags.org/rab/
TEAGS is also supporting a consumer campaign by Sum of Us to oppose the use of RAB for Sizewell. https://actions.sumofus.org/a/no-energy-bill-surcharge-for-new-nuclear
3. Suffolk Coast DMO report on tourism impacts https://www.thesuffolkcoast.co.uk/shares/Energy-Infrastructure-projects-to-impact-Suffolk-coast-tourism—Final.pdf