Just what is going on with Hinkley Point ‘C’?

A CGI image of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset [Image: EDF Energy/PA].

A CGI image of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset [Image: EDF Energy/PA].


What do Vox Political readers think of this?

As far as This Writer can tell, George Osborne signed a deal to produce a nuclear power station that the UK doesn’t want, with a country (China) that has an extremely dodgy record and is now accused of industrial espionage.

It seems strange that Mr Osborne’s involvement has been glossed-over. If there is any doubt over the correctness of his decision to invite China into the UK to part-run our energy production, then why is he not being challenged on it?

Let’s have your views, please.

Theresa May is being urged to pull the plug on the controversial Hinkley Point C project immediately, after new allegations of spying in the US by a consultant working for the Chinese co-investor in the planned nuclear plant.

The new government is currently in the middle of a review of the £18.5bn Hinkley scheme following a final investment decision by the developers, EDF of France and its Beijing-based partner China General Nuclear Power (CGN).

Paul Dorfman, a senior research fellow at University College London, said the British prime minister could legitimately blame poor French reactor technology if she wanted to save face with the Chinese.

“No other OECD country would let China into its critical nuclear infrastructure, given its history of nuclear weapon proliferation. May has already taken the diplomatic ‘hit’ for this, so what’s she got to lose?”

Source: May urged to pull plug immediately on Hinkley C over spying allegations | UK news | The Guardian

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18 thoughts on “Just what is going on with Hinkley Point ‘C’?

  1. chriskitcher

    Master plan to make Brexit fail. Brexiters have placed a great deal of importance on China as a trading partner in their woolly new world. So spoil the relationship with China and it then looks like we are safer in the EU as one of the largest future markets is closed to us.

    Next on her list will be America, just watch!

  2. Neilth

    I’m not averse to Nuclear power per se but this was always a rotten deal. The strike price, how much per unit we will have to pay as a minimum is insanely high even by today’s standards and likely to soar to stay ahead of fuel inflation. There are other, ultimately cheaper, safer and more useful/ sustainable and environmentally useful proposals in the Bristol Channel which, if combined would provide a huge proportion of the needed power for the future.

    The Swansea and Cardiff Bays are proposed for lagoons which would utilise the second biggest tidal range in the world. Tidal power is reliable and predictable and a huge amount of untapped potential energy that can also provide leisure facilities for those who enjoy water sports. It is suggested that these two would provide more energy than Hinckley.

    The Severn Barrage actually the Bristol Channel Barrage would also tap into this unique tidal opportunity as well as possibly providing a transport link between South Wales and The West Country which would enormously benefit the economies of both these struggling communities.

    We need a mixed bag of energy provision that isn’t Carbon dependant to meet future needs and mitigate the damage from fossil fuels. Done imaginatively and ecologically these power generators could be multi use facilities with many potential add on uses.

    1. Jane Owens

      Yes, hydro power is grossly under-used in the UK. Look at lovely Llyn Brianne, when all three turbines are working, it generates 4.60 megawatts of electricity. With the will and the commitment, so much more could be achieved.

  3. Joan Edington

    Not just this should be stopped. I believe that it is strategically rediculous and dangerous to have foreign countries anywhere near public utilities or military activites of any sort. I include the USA and Trident in that.

  4. livingzen

    Whatever the political reasons and shenanigans going down – for us in that part of the world, it would be a massive relief as it would destroy a huge raft of Somerset.
    It is also so overpriced as to be criminal – that sort of money is far better spent on other forms since that money only will cover 7% of energy when done – 7%!!! for gawds sake!
    I reckon Georgie’s taken a creamer, buggered off and has insurance against criminal involvement, sounds like standard for this bunch o’ crooks!!

  5. mohandeer

    We shouldn’t be proceeding with Hinckley point C when Colwyn Bay projects can produce cheaper energy without the costs of nuclear.
    We shouldn’t be entertaining any foreign run projects when the government itself could invest in the energy sector.
    As for the Guardian article:
    Firstly I wouldn’t believe anything a US based consultant said about anything, especially spying since the US is front and centre on that score and it is more likely a US tactic to stop China from expansionism(only the US tolerates expansionism – by itself)
    Second, the Chinese have already been targeted for sabotage of various power storage devices by persons yet unknown which could make HPC a target also.
    Thirdly, it is quite the joke that ““No other OECD country would let China into its critical nuclear infrastructure, given its history of nuclear weapon proliferation” when we are quite happy to deal with the US, Israel and other atomic weapons countries. It’s double standard, double speak hypocrisy.

  6. Harry

    Mike, I have been following this in some perplexity. The intrusion by top Chinese government officials into the Hinkley Point matter suggests a deal done whereby the Chinese have already invested in some way. I am convinced this is a very “dodgy” deal indeed, and that Britain must withdraw. It is anyway foolhardy to involve foreign nations in infrastructure projects critical to the wellbeing of the people of that nation and its economy: But even more relevant is the fact that Nuclear power is a curse, and in no way is it either cheap or clean. The Chinese, if they wish to obtain satisfaction must come clean on this dirty deal.

  7. Anne Barker

    Chinese money, yes. Chinese engineers, scientists and technologists, no. This whole scheme reeks of the kind of private finance initiative Gordon Brown made use of to seem to acquire hospital premises and equipment, off the books, so it didn’t look as if government was spending as much as it would have to, where the country leased things from the private sector constructed by the private sector, ending up paying far more over decades than we would have if we borrowed the money and paid it back and, in a lot of cases, not even owning the things financed privately! A bit like paying a very costly mortgage for thirty years and not owning the property at the end of the day.

    Hinkley was a very bad deal for British consumers with far too many loose ends and unanswered questions.

    But the idea of China being given responsibility for constructing, maintaining and running, even in part, is a no-no as far as I’m concerned.

  8. John Costello

    Rather than concentrating on the Chinese angle, we should be more concerned with the performance of French company EDF.

    At the present time, there are no reactors of this type in operation – the technology is untested. There are some concerns about the quality of the steel used in the ‘flask’ holding the nuclear rods.

    Also, the French company is in severe financial difficulty at home. There are also concerns about the way that non-technical staff are recruited by the agencies used by EDF – the are reports that ‘gang masters’ are recruiting from ethnic minority groups (such as the Roma) to meet recruitment needs.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Doesn’t EDF own quite a lot of the UK’s energy infrastructure now?
      It might be very difficult for the Tories if such a company were to collapse…
      Hmm.

      1. Tim

        No more chance of that happening any more than one of our big banks collapsing. EDF is and will continue to be propped up by the French government as necessary for the foreseeable future.

    2. Tim

      EDF is 85% owned by the French government, so it isn’t really like a “normal” private energy company at all. There is no real chance of EDF going bust or similar.

  9. Jessie

    The Chinese are as much empire buildings as were the main European powers, but they do it differently, through economics and business, especially in Africa.

    Is the undemocratic human-rights-crushing China, hacking into other nations’ computing systems while blocking parts of the internet for their own citizens, a country that we trust? If not, they should not be involved with our national infrastructure, and especially not with our nuclear reactors. Do we want their poor quality steel to be a part of that infrastructure? If not, we should stay with our own steel industry.

    Why is our patriotric-preaching government selling out to the Chinese (and the awful rip-off, incorrect-billing EDF) and undermining our own industries? And, yes, what’s it really all about?

    Amber Rudd, until recently Energy Secretary, to every challenger would reply that whatever was at issue was necessary to keep bills down for hardworking families. Even were it let’s build pie-in-the-sky on the moon, that would have been the official response.

    Even while EDF were being promised electricity prices at twice the going rate, the response was that it was to keep prices down for hardworking families.

    And, it’s so funny as to hurt – “We know competition works. It keeps costs low and can deliver a clean and reliable energy system.”

    https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/amber-rudds-speech-on-a-new-direction-for-uk-energy-policy

    This even while the hardworking families pay inflated prices in order to keep boardroom returns mega high, thousands of our elderly die each winter through not being able to afford to switch on their heating, and promises are given that for some time into the future electricity prices are to be kept over twice the present artificially high rates in order to pay for a very poor deal of a nuclear power station.

    And do we really trust a peron who makes such devious statements as Home Secretary?

    Who then said that offshore wind production would only be supported if it could show cost reductions! That onshore wind turbines would not be built against local opposition, while pushing through fracking against strong local opposition. (Murdoch has interests in fracking.)

    What we need is to bring our essential services back into public ownership and out of foreign hands, and to have a government who actually cares about the effects on the citizens of this country of inflated charges for the essentials; and if we do go for some nuclear (I’d rather not personally), this is not the way to do it, which is to do it ourselves.

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