EDF engineers urge delay for Hinkley Point C 

Posted: March 30, 2016 by oldbrew in Nuclear power
Tags: ,

Hinkley Point C nuclear site [image credit: BBC]

Hinkley Point C nuclear site [image credit: BBC]

The Hinkley Point nuclear saga rumbles on. Engineers reckon the design is out-of-date and needs replacing, as PEI reports.

EDF’s engineers have circulated a paper to all executives internally counselling against developing the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project.

The white paper said that the “realistic service date was 2027” due to the size of the project, continuing design modifications to the European Pressurised Reactor system and the “very low” competency of French supplier Areva in making some of the large components.

The company’s engineers don’t believe in the existing design, pointing to the delays experienced in Finland and France. The paper, seen by the Financial Times, makes the case for a “new EPR”, calling on the company to redesign the current reactor technology to make it smaller, cheaper to build and less complicated.

A timely start-up at Hinkley Point, which will provide 7 per cent of UK electricity, is critical because the government has set 2025 as the date by which the last of Britain’s coal-fired power stations is due to close. Despite the engineers’ input EDF said in a statement last night that it would stick to the planned timetable. “The date for the first operation of Hinkley Point C has not changed. It will be in 2025,” it said.

The majority of the 18-strong board is likely to vote in favour of the deal in May, according to people close to the group. The company is 85 per cent state owned, and the government wants the project to go ahead. Internal opposition to the project to build another reactor to the same design as those under construction in Flamanville in northern France and Olkiluoto in Finland has always been strong. The logic is if those projects have not been completed, why take on all the risks of another?

Source: EDF engineers urge delay for Hinkley Point C – Power Engineering International

  1. oldbrew says:

    This is on top of doubts about funding after the finance director quit due to the risky nature of the project in terms of possible future debts.

  2. p.g.sharrow says:

    The Director of Finance Quits, The Engineers say that the projects success is questionable.

    The Management says, We will go ahead anyway. After all, what could go wrong?

    Tax payers and rate payers will have to pay the price while the Management players will collect their Fat pay and retirement packages…pg

  3. oldbrew says:

    If it’s not due to open until at least 2027, nearly all the politicians who approved it will be doing something else or be retired by then.

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    When the Engineer says “I can’ne change the Laws O’ Physics!” and management says “The Schedule MUST be kept!”; you are assured of two things:

    Political pressures (often involving money or power) are making engineering choices.

    Something is going to blow up, badly, as politicians (even internal management politcs) make for the worlds worst engineers.

    This will be a fiasco. Management has just decreed it so…

  5. oldbrew says:

    A union rep on the EDF board plans to vote against approving the Hinkley contrct.

    ‘The likelihood of achieving a vital part of the UK’s future power infrastructure appears to be waning by the week’

    Even the Guardian can see the point of turning to gas:
    ‘The key requirement for the UK is to have a plan B. The good news is that it should not be difficult to design an alternative energy strategy to meet the capacity crunch in the 2020s; it could be more gas-fired stations, or smaller and proven nuclear reactors. The bad news is that there is little to suggest ministers are on the job.’

    There’s the DECC small nuclear comp.

  6. Why not buy a reactor “off the rack” that’s proven to be a working design?
    South Korea, China and Russia are building new reactors quickly and at low cost.

    I doubt that the country can afford to run out of trees (again) while waiting for new reactors to be built out of pixie dust, fuelled by unicorn poo.

  7. The EPR has always been a dinosaur of a design. It was a cobbled-together design of German and French attempts to copy the Westinghouse/Mitsubishi APWR. When Framatome took over the Siemens nuclear business to form Areva, it carried on with the impracticable design it called the EPR.

    A “new EPR” design is not needed and would take years to develop and get through the licensing process, and who would want to be the first to build this new design? There are better alternatives already out there, such as the AP1000 and ABWR.

    Don’t expect Amber Rudd, with her green advisers, to make a sensible decision.

  8. oldbrew says:

    If/when the project fails or runs way over time or over budget, the politicians that agreed to it will not be around to take the flak.

  9. oldmanK says:

    Quoting from E M Smith ” politicians (even internal management politcs) make for the worlds worst engineers.” That is a rule that has not been known to fail.

    From oldbrew ” The bad news is that there is little to suggest ministers are on the job.” Same situation. Are they ever? In my 47 yr experience there was never an exception.

  10. steverichards1984 says:

    Its time to offer wedges of cash to get retired nuclear designers out of retirement, expand physics labs at universities and set the country to work to produce a British designed reactor. We have a few running for 40 plus years to choose from. we have hi tech companies building and maintaining our sub fleet of nukes.

    Time for an “ACTION THIS DAY” before the lights go out.