The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has called on UK ministers and
officials to take stock of the UK’s new nuclear strategy.
The NFLA has raised alarm at the escalating costs of proposed nuclear investments, and the strain this will place on the public purse. Alongside other campaigners, the group has emphasised the comparable financial security of investments in renewable energy options.
Toshiba’s recent announcement that it will not be involved in the construction of new
nuclear reactors at the Sellafield ‘Moorside’ development in west Cumbria has
thrown into sharp relief the difficulties being faced by the UK’s new nuclear policy.
At the same time EDF, who are due to build a new nuclear plant at
Hinkley Point in Somerset, issued three profit warnings last year following a string of
unplanned nuclear plant shutdowns.
EDF is contending with a government-directed restructuring of the French nuclear industry, and is being pushed by the French state, its controlling shareholder, to rescue reactor builder Areva by taking over the part of its business that is behind EPR technology.
The EPR reactor that EDF is building at Flamanville in France is currently six years behind schedule and €7.2bn over budget. A large drop in French nuclear output over the winter
due to safety inspections on 18 of its French reactors, at the request of the
country’s nuclear regulator ASN, was partly to blame for a sharp drop in
This comes in the wake of news that the company is saddled with debt and needs to spend €55 billion upgrading its existing reactors in France.
Stop Hinkley spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said:
“If you look around the country you find local authorities and communities that
are still finding ways to take control of their own energy and make the economic
case to install renewables despite cuts in subsidies. This contrasts with the
vast level of public subsidy being offered or sought for new nuclear.”
Pumfrey added: “What we have in Somerset is a large hole in the ground and
worsening traffic jams, with no guarantee that it will lead to anything because
of the parlous state of the French nuclear industry. The Hinkley Point C site
represents a huge missed opportunity. It is time we switched course and got on
with the job of making Somerset fit for a low carbon sustainable future.”