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Good News For Hinkley Point C

Thursday, September 3, 2015

GMB Welcome Commitment Of EDF Chairman To Build Hinkley Point C And Sizewell New Nuclear Low Carbon Power Stations

Together these two new stations will power 10 million homes with low-carbon electricity while Hinkley will create 25,000 new job opportunities says GMB.

GMB, the union for nuclear workers, commented on the announcement by Jean-Bernard Levy, EDF Chairman that the Flamanville nuclear power station in Normandy will now start in Q4 2018 rather that Q4 2017 and that EDF is fully committed to build two new nuclear stations in the UK.

See notes to editors for copy of EDF press release and see here report from Reuters dated 3rd September 2015.

"I have total confidence in the Flamanville EPR. It is a priority for EDF and a major issue for the French nuclear industry and its international reputation," Jean-Bernard Levy, EDF chief executive, told a news conference.

He said Flamanville's problems would have no impact on EDF's plan to build two EPRs in Britain, adding that he had "full confidence in the success of the Hinkley Point project".

"The EPR is a prototype and prototypes are always difficult," Levy said, adding that the new cost estimate was realistic.

He also said that at Hinkley Point, EDF plans to build the same model EPR as in Flamanville, not the simplified "New Model" EPR it is now working on with Areva.

Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for energy, said “The problems with the Flamanville project are well known. GMB and the French union CGT have spoken out on this before. The fact the company has got a robust project management plan now in place is good news. The agreements GMB have for Hinkley take into account some of the experiences of what went wrong at Flamanville.

The really positive news is the firm commitment from the EDF Chairman both to Hinkley and Sizewell.

This is great news as Hinkley Point C promises 25,000 job opportunities,1,000 apprenticeships and 60% of the construction cost going to UK companies.   See notes to editors for copy of previous GMB release dated 31st July.

This means we can look forward to the final investment decision being announced in October.

This is also a really positive announcement in terms of the environment. The UK desperately need the low carbon electricity Hinkley and Sizewell will produce. Together these two new stations will power 10 million homes with low-carbon electricity.”


Contact: Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary on 07710 618909 or Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Officer Construction on 07968 338810 or GMB Press Office on 07974 251823.

Notes to editors

Copy of EDF press release:

 Flamanville EPR: optimised project management and a new timetable

In recent months, EDF and its partners have conducted a comprehensive review of the Flamanville EPR project and of the project organisation, with a view to improving construction site management until commissioning has been completed.

A new organisational structure has been set up and implemented:

- complete review of the project organisation and working methods, centred around streamlined management reporting directly to Xavier Ursat, Group Senior Executive VP in charge of New Nuclear Projects and Engineering, and Jean-Bernard Lévy, the EDF Chairman and CEO;

- setting up of new ways of connecting EDF with its partners, to provide close leadership, coordination and monitoring of the project;

- enhanced accountability on site and stronger managerial presence as the construction phase comes to a close and test preparation gets underway;

- new contractual frameworks with key suppliers;

- enhanced dialogue with the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), particularly in respect of the new regulation on nuclear pressure equipment.

Significant progress has been made on the construction site recently. 98% of the building civil structure has been completed, as has 60% of the electromechanical erection. Pre-stressing operations on the reactor building inner containment have been carried out, and the control room has been commissioned. In the first quarter of 2015, EDF submitted its commissioning application file to the ASN.

The new roadmap, to which EDF and its partners are committed, aims to optimise the management of the project. The new timetable sets outs three key milestones:

- primary circuit mechanical erection to be finalised in the first quarter of 2016;

- electromechanical erection to be completed and system performance testing to begin in the first quarter of 2017;

- first fuel loading and start-up of the reactor in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Following assessment of all the industrial and financial parameters, project costs have been revised to € 10.5 billion1.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF Chairman and Managing Director, commented, “I have reviewed the Flamanville EPR project in detail, and I am absolutely confident that it will be a success. It is a priority for EDF and of critical importance for the French nuclear industry and its success internationally. Our teams and those of our partners, particularly AREVA, are working to complete this project together in compliance with the most stringent nuclear and industrial safety standards. All of the experience gained at Flamanville will be invaluable for other EPR projects, such as Hinkley Point. Together with renewable energies, new nuclear build is an asset for successful energy transition to which EDF is fully committed.”

2 Copy of previous GMB press release on Hinkley Point


The size of the UK supply chain involvement is reassuring and we need to make sure that we maintain such high levels of UK supply chain involvement for all future nuclear new build projects says GMB

Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for energy said, “This is a huge step forward for low carbon electricity in the UK.

GMB members are more confident now than we have been for some time that Hinkley Point C will now go ahead. This is a definite vote of confidence in the project.

The size of the UK supply chain involvement is reassuring and we need to make sure that we maintain such high levels of UK supply chain involvement for all future nuclear new build projects.”

Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Officer for construction Said. “GMB members in construction will welcomes this positive news after a long run of bad news over past months from the French owned energy company EDF NNB along with the myriad of objectors and legal challenges the Hinkley Point C project (HPC) has been subjected to. This is definitely a step forward.

We now have a positive piece of the jigsaw concerning the construction of HPC in place, which promises 25,000 job opportunities, 1,000 apprenticeships and 60% of the construction cost going to UK companies. 

But sadly there are still pieces of the jigsaw missing. The future of the project still hangs in the balance of an agreement between EDF, its investors, and the Conservative Government to secure the Final Investment Decision (FID). We can now only hope that common sense prevails after the summer recess of Parliament, and they come to a financial accord which will spark the recommencement of this much needed project in the UK construction industry.

Whilst we must accept on HPC, that previous Governments handed over our nuclear development to foreign investors, and as a consequence most of the major manufacture of components on the "nuclear Island" such as the reactor pressure vessel, and turbines will be presumably be built in France. That is of course if AREVA the troubled French company which is contracted to build the reactors are kept afloat.

Also in the announcement we still have no percentage figures of other foreign investment. In particular the much recently reported "Chinese investment" and any spin off deals done with the Conservative Government and the Chinese. Both still have to clarify the allegations put recently by GMB to Amber Rudd the newly appointed Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change regarding a play off situation with the Chinese investors on other EDF nuclear installations.

GMB has concerns regarding the play off with those investors on the decommissioning and new build of the Bradwell nuclear site, and it being handed over in its totality to the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) as part of the deal to secure the funding pathway for HPC. Until those allegation are addressed the perpetuity of confidence and transparency of the funding jigsaw of HPC will not be complete.”


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