Energy Secretary Amber Rudd (letter, April 21, ‘Minister: Hinkley no risk to power supply’) clearly has the gift of clairvoyance.  She says that no liabilities would fall to the UK tax payer or consumer should Hinkley Point C be cancelled.  Notwithstanding the subsidies from the public purse already handed over to the nuclear industry in the last ten years in the form of ministerial support, conferences, promotional events, paying expensive consultancies and general palm greasing, who, pray, would foot the bill to complete the Hinkley project should EdF withdraw after a few years of construction when cost and time over-runs became apparent as they have with other projects in France and Finland?  And assuming the plant ever began generating its costly electricity, who would be responsible for the waste management costs, the size of which can only be estimated since the location, depth, technical details about cladding, inventory or even if there will ever be a repository remain stubbornly vague and could yet result in indefinite storage on site?  Spent nuclear fuel from a notional Hinkley C or Sizewell C will be on their respective sites for an estimated160 years, assuming Amber Rudd’s clairvoyant prediction of a 60 year operating lifetime for Hinkley doesn’t suffer from terminal technical problems.  Who take title to hundreds of tonnes of spent nuclear fuel if, as is likely, within that period of time, EdF disappears and the repository proves to be impossible to construct or is shown to be fraught with too many technical and scientific problems?  As usual, the public purse would be required to bail out a private venture. Amber Rudd’s claim of ‘no liabilities’ is as irresponsible as a short term response to legitimate concerns as government’s energy policy will prove to be in the long term.  Better to cancel Hinkley, Sizewell and all the other nuclear plans now while some semblance of energy policy credibility remains than to see it unravel in the most embarrassing way over the coming decades leaving communities like ours to carry the can for official incompetence and governmental obsession with a nuclear fix. 

Pete Wilkinson


Together Against Sizewell C

An important dimension is missing in your update on EDF’s Hinkley Point project. It’s a question of what the latest £18 bn project figure from EDF actually means in relation to the other still much quoted figure of £24.5 bn.

This much higher figure originally came from the Brussels Competition Commission in 2013 and has to be assumed to be an overall project cost. The lower figure has to be assumed to be the accepted build cost for two reactors at £8bn each uprated by £2bn for inflation by EDF CEO J-B Levy in October last year. Mr Osborne’s £2bn support, whatever it is actually for, would seem to slot into the gap between the build figure and the overall project figure, while Energy Minister Rudd’s letter to Parliament citing a £2bn to £19bn risk to the public purse seems to make sense of the project cost being considerably higher than the build cost. It preceded the EDF £18bn figure.

The much higher Brussels’ Commission figure, presumably also in need of uprating for inflation, must have helped initially with justifying the high strike price of £92.50 pmwh. If the lower build cost had been used, this price would have seemed even more generous - or scandalous - than it is.

The difference matters crucially. If the higher figure is a real project cost, it leaves EDF and China’s CGN still short of several £billion, since their public figuring is associated with the new £18bn figure. Mr Osborne’s £2bn won’t bridge that gap. If, on the other hand, the Brussels figure was a sleight of hand, it will hopefully be picked up the European Court of Justice when they examine the challenge from the Austrian government.

A key question is what exactly the strike price aid is for. Maybe even the Commission could come back if EDF have changed any of the project financing terms which were agreed in April last year. If the cost is now only £18bn, there’s a good argument for that.

Critics of the whole project- and I’m one - might quite reasonably think the difference is just an allowance to reflect the utterly predictable cost overrun for EDF’s EPR reactors. Or maybe that’s just an extra problem to add to all the others.

Regan Scott
Great Bealings, Suffolk

Dear Sir,

I was trying to ignore the reply from Mike Fowle, Feb 6th EADT, to the letter from Pete Wilkinson on Feb 1st. As was stated, Pete Wilkinson was indeed a co-founder of Greenpeace UK.

Like everything Pete has done in the past, often at a high risk, alongside his fearless colleagues when attempting and succeeding in changing international law.
To name some of their successful actions makes me feel very grateful and humble.

They stopped the packaged radioactive waste dumping in the Atlantic by the UK, Netherlands and Belgium, ended fur farming in the UK, stopped the practice of forcing dolphins and killer whales performing in 'dolphinaria' in the UK, saved 7800 seals from being shot in Orkney and stopped the harp seal cull of 250,000 pups in Newfoundland.

They reduced by an order of magnitude liquid radioactive waste discharges from the then Windscale (now Sellafield) into the Irish Sea and stopped the French atmospherically testing nuclear weapons in the south Pacific. Included was the tragic loss of life of a brave photographer colleague when Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior was sabotaged and sunk by the French military.

They forced a commercial whaling ban through the International Whaling Commission and stopped any mining activity in the Antarctic until 2041.

As Mr Fowle said, Greenpeace grew over time and like Dr Moore, Pete Wilkinson left the organisation to concentrate on other campaigns. Fortunately for us some of these are local issues.

We would be well advised to listen to what Pete Wilkinson has said in his recent letter. Mr Fowle says he is scare-mongering. Pete Wilkinson is not in the business of scare-mongering.

This very day on BBC Breakfast it was reported that emergency services for London have been planning for a year, and today are carrying out, an UNFORESEEABLE ACCIDENT scenario exercise. This is to find out if their emergency planning procedures work and how the emergency services would cope in the case of a real situation. If it is necessary in London it is certainly necessary for Sizewell and the surrounding area.

This is simply what Pete Wilkinson is asking for under REPPIR -- Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations published by the Health and Safety Executive.
He said that Management at Sizewell has based the emergency plan on the likelihood of "reasonably foreseeable accidents". Pete then listed numerous accidents which were "unforeseeable". Here in the UK, USA, Russia, Japan and elsewhere with immense long term consequences.The cold war M. Fowle mentioned was a man made situation of deliberate confrontation, fortunately defused for all of our benefits. Nuclear power station risks are unforeseeable and the constantly increasing local population should therefore be informed and prepared.

Bob Hoggar


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

Dear Sir,

I note with interest and alarm the media information and hype about the future of Nuclear Power Generating Stations, their massive high cost, and those who will be instrumental in the building and operating them. A situation brought about by the British Government. In the first instance by the Labour  Government. Persuaded by John Hutton and Jamie Read, Tony Blair, decided that we would need nuclear energy in the future, contradicting former Labour policy. This stupidity has been and is continued by successive Conservative Governments, who still cannot see the wood for the trees.

Although this country has many other ways and means of producing non polluting, cost effective and sustainable energy, with little or no CO2 emissions at the point of generation, the powers that be have decided that instead of embracing a clean energy future for generations to come, they will take the worst possible route, that of engaging foreign powers to build  expensive and heavily polluting nuclear power stations that we will be paying for over  a millennia.

At the same time Government is removing the Feed in Tariff for solar generation which encourages and  sustains renewable energy companies who need the confidence of a subsidy to survive for the first few years of trading. Unfortunately this Government decision is hitting home now and many companies have stopped trading and their employees been laid off.

The German Government has taken a much more sustainable line and have a long  term Energy Plan which excludes new nuclear, we could, with the correct political stance do the same, I am ashamed that our once proud nation is not taking the same decision both for the sake of the environment and for  future generations. I am sure this is what many people in this country would wish to see.

We are told by leading experts and reporters, including some normally supportive of nuclear, that this French/ Chinese/ British Government cosiness for new nuclear is all in all a very bad deal,

which will increase the cost of electricity to householders and businesses alike, and which will lead us away from more sustainable renewable energy supplies.

 More nuclear plants will mean an increased security risk, both from cyber attack and any other malevolent sources. I am concerned that we expect our security services and regulators to protect us from this type of crime, when exposure to the threat is totally unnecessary.

Is Sizewell north of the existing B station a suitable site for two French/Chinese built reactors ?

I am now more convinced than ever that the Sizewell site is not suitable or desirable. It is not a price worth paying when there are other ways of supplying the countries energy needs.

Ways which do not cost the earth, ways which do not leave a legacy of highly radioactive waste, and that do not destroy an area of East Suffolks’ best marsh land its ecology and all the biodiversity it contains.

Our children’s children will not thank us for this Governments crass decision.


Yours Sincerely

Joan Girling