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Topic Title E&T magazine - Debate - Nuclear energy in the UK

Date Posted: 16 July 2012 07:24 PM
Posted By: jarathoon

For a long time now Areva has been silent on the completion date for the new EPR at Olkiluoto, in Finland. The last available completion date estimate, of August 2014, was from the Finnish generator TVO.

Now TVO has updated the stockmarket that the new nuclear station will not be delivered by this date and no new completion date is available.

There may now be a possibility that the delays at Olkiluoto will start impacting commissioning of the new EPR at Flamanville. Areva may not want to or indeed be able to run highly skilled commissioning teams at both sites simultaneously.

So will Areva commssion Olikuoto first and delay Flamanville commissioning for another 1 or 2 more years or commission Flamanville first and delay Olkiluoto for another 5 or 6 more years? Very expensive either way.

The Times is running a story today that EDF will be asking the UK government for a strike price of £165 per MWh for the new nuclear power station complex to go ahead at Hinkley point. (Up-rated for inflation of 2% per year this will be about £200 per MWh in 2022. For the market rate to equal this in 2022 energy prices would have to rise 15% a year for the next 10 years.)

So this is confirmation that privately funded new Nuclear (not including insurance and waste subsidies) will be more expensive than offshore wind.

Given the political heat over off-shore windfarm costs, it doesn't seem realistic for the government to get parliamentary approval for such a high strike price for new nuclear.

According to the governments current timetable they cannot send EDF a letter of comfort, confirming an agreed strike price, until two months after a final version of the Energy Bill has received Royal Assent - which DECC currently plans to achieve in January 2014.

EDF are saying they want to make the final investment decision at the end of the year.

Thus the publically stated positions of DECC and EDF remain contradictory as well as politically unrealistic.

James Arathoon

James Arathoon