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Sizewell Funding and Dates remain uncertain

The public relations power of the Chinese and UK governments may have left a glowing impression of a new nuclear deal for Sizewell  but the reality is different. Europe now has three potential Hinkley cases to deal with, not just the Austrian legal challenge to Hinkley’ strike price. This was accepted for examination in July.

The second case is admitted officially (see Reuters): it is a merger reference for the new joint EDF/China company to build it. The third case concerns the strike price which was agreed for a total build price of £24.5 bn at Hinkley. EDF now say they’ve been able to cut this back to £16bn (plus £2bn inflation), which could mean Europe has to look again at the strike price. That’s likely because Europe is still directly involved with UK nuclear issues, supervising Sizewell B’s grid price which will lose its protection next year or so.

Other chess pieces have changed too: EDF Paris say they are still looking for new investors, China will only put up 20% of Sizewell costs (and maybe that’s a cash limited figure too). Of the two Chinese companies originally involved, the one owned by the Chinese army to help make nuclear weapons has been dropped out, but maybe (not me guessing) coming back later on for publicly declared possible majority Chinese ownership. Long run its looks like EDF will phase out, or sell out, partly because they are short of money. Their own Sizewell C type new reactor at Flamanville has also been given an official three year delay because it is so overdue and overcost.

Local Sizewell supporting politicians who recently visited Flamanville take note: spending £500,000 of our local tax money for new road planning for EDF may be premature, if not actually a sheer waste of money.

The new consultation and build dates are not really credible. And the key issues remain: when the politicians who push this nuclear prospect are gone, the build will continue, wildlife and nature and tourism will be seriously damaged, and then there are all the known nuclear risks too. Who will pick up the pieces, the extra costs, the dislocation etc? Guess who.

Regan Scott, Gt Bealings

Category: Local Letters