GMB Welcome UK Government Underwriting Of Funding For Hinkley Point C New Nuclear Power Station
Chinese funding for Hinkley Point C should not be linked to giving go- ahead for Chinese nuclear technology in a new nuclear power station at Bradwell says GMB.
GMB, the union for nuclear workers, commented on announcement by the Chancellor that the UK Government will underwrite an initial £2 billion support for Hinkley Point C. See notes to editors for copy of HM Treasury press release dated 21 September 2015 announcing an initial £2 billion support for Hinkley Point C.
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for energy, said "GMB welcome the Chancellor’s statement that the UK needs nuclear power to provide low carbon base load electricity to keep the lights on when renewables are not generating power for the grid. This underwriting of the Chinese financing of Hinkley Point C is welcome.
However is should not be linked to giving the go- ahead for Chinese nuclear technology to be used in a new nuclear power station at Bradwell in return for Chinese funding for Hinkley Point C. If the Chinese government insist on this linkage the UK Government should reject it.
Chinese nuclear technology is unproven and no UK government should even consider allowing it to be used in a new nuclear power station 60 miles from London.
Given our long history in improving safety in the nuclear industry we were deeply concerned to read the comments of physicist He Zuoxiu, an eminent nuclear scientist in China. He Zuoxiu has publicly raised concerns about the safety standards of Chinese components in the nuclear industry. Indeed he has gone further in criticising the Chinese nuclear industry, and it is unusual for such an official to speak out in this way. It suggests that there are very serious issues in the nuclear industry
GMB and people in this country also will not tolerate thousands of Chinese workers being brought over to assemble and build the Chinese reactor on the cheap. We will not tolerate a betrayal of the interests of manufacturing and construction workers in the UK by the Tories.
We have the technology and funding in the UK. GMB consider that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority should be re-tasked and renamed the Nuclear Development Authority. It should be given authority to borrow the money on the capital markets to partner EDF in Hinkley and Sizewell. This will be cheaper for consumers and will avoid unnecessary safety fears in UK.
MPs must force the government to retreat on this totally unnecessary policy.”
Contact: Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary on 07710 618909 or GMB Press Office on 07921 289880 or 07974 251823.
Notes to editors
Copy of HM Treasury press release dated 21 September 2015.
Chancellor announces initial £2 billion support for Hinkley Point C
Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, today insisted new nuclear power stations are essential to make sure the lights stay on as he gave the green light to the initial government guarantee for the first such plant in Britain for 20 years.
While on a five day tour of China, the Chancellor announced the new government guarantee, provided by Infrastructure UK, for a new nuclear power station planned for Hinkley Point C in Somerset. The initial deal is set to be worth around £2 billion and will pave the way for a final investment decision by energy company EDF, supported by China General Nuclear Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation, later this year, and with further amounts potentially available in the longer-term.
The construction and operation of Hinkley Point C will create thousands of jobs in Somerset and more widely in the nuclear industry across the UK, as well as boosting Britain’s energy security.
The new plant is expected to produce enough energy to supply seven per cent of the country’s needs, powering around six million homes.
It is also expected to open the door to unprecedented collaboration in the UK and China on the construction of new nuclear power stations.
The agreement also boosts work being carried out under a Memorandum of Understanding on fuel cycle collaboration signed with China in 2014, which has the potential to leverage UK expertise in waste management and decommissioning as well as support UK growth.
During the next ten years, Britain is expected to need to replace around quarter of its capacity due to ageing nuclear and coal power plants retiring, which the new Hinkley Point power station will help achieve.
The Chancellor said:
“‘Britain was the home to the very first civil nuclear power stations in the world and I am determined that we now lead the way again. Nuclear power is cost competitive with other low carbon technology and is a crucial part of our energy mix, along with new sources of power such as shale gas.
‘So I am delighted to announce this guarantee for Hinkley Point today and to be in China to discuss their investments in Britain’s nuclear industry.
‘It is another move forward for the golden relationship between Britain and China – the world's oldest civil nuclear power and the world's fastest growing civil nuclear power.’
The Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd said:
'New nuclear power is a vital part of our long-term plan to provide secure, clean energy supplies that hardworking families and businesses can rely on in the decades ahead.
‘Today’s guarantee is an important step forward for the first new nuclear power station in a generation and the future of our home-grown energy supplies. We will continue to work with EDF to finalise the Hinkley deal, which will power nearly six million homes and create more than 25,000 jobs – providing more financial security for working people and their families as we transition to a low-carbon future.’
Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy said:
"The Chancellor’s approval of the infrastructure guarantee is a clear sign of the Government’s commitment to Hinkley Point C. The Government’s determination to bring about a renewal of infrastructure and to attract inward investment to the UK are demonstrated by this good news.
It is further progress towards a final investment decision on a project which will provide reliable, affordable low carbon electricity for decades.
We welcome the Government’s support for the industrial participation by EDF and its Chinese partners.”
Notes to Editors
1. The European Commission approved the Hinkley Point C state aid case in October 2014. The £2 billion is covered by that approval with further amounts available should EDF meet certain conditions and subject to fuller Government approvals.
2. The Strike Price for Hinkley Point C is £89.50/MWh fully indexed to the Consumer Price Index. This price benefits from upfront reduction of £3/MWh built in on assumption that EDF will be able to share first of a kind costs of EPR reactors across Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C sites. If the final investment decision is not taken on Sizewell C, Strike Price for Hinkley Point C will be £92.50/MWh.
3. The contract difference payment duration for each reactor is 35 years. The contract term for a reactor will be reduced if that reactor does not reach its start date within its target commissioning window.
4. Documentation is subject to final approvals.