Hinkley Point C nuclear power station
|Hinkley Point C nuclear power station|
The headland at Hinkley Point with the current power stations visible in the background
|Country||England, United Kingdom|
|Location||Somerset, South West England|
|Developer(s)||NNB Generation Company|
|Reactors planned||2 x 1,600 MW|
|Installed capacity||3,200 MW|
|Strike price = £92.50/MWh|
On 18 October 2010, the British government announced that Hinkley Point – already the site of the disused Hinkley Point A and the still operational Hinkley Point B power stations – was one of the eight sites it considered suitable for future nuclear power stations. Electricité de France (EDF) submitted an application for development consent to the Infrastructure Planning Commission on 31 October 2011.
A protest group, Stop Hinkley, was formed to campaign for the closure of Hinkley Point B and oppose any expansion at the Hinkley Point site. In October 2011 more than 200 protesters blockaded the site. In February 2012 around seven protesters set up camp in an abandoned farm on the site of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
In October 2013 the government announced that it had approved subsidized feed-in prices for the electricity production of Hinkley Point C. In 2013, the plant was scheduled to be completed in 2023 and remain operational for 60 years.
In 1994 Elizabeth Gass sold some 230 acres of her Fairfield estate at Hinkley Point for about £50 million. The land was earmarked for the development of a wind farm. The site may now be used for the construction of two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C.
In January 2008 the UK government gave the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power stations to be built. Hinkley Point C, in conjunction with Sizewell C, could contribute 13% of UK electricity in the early 2020s.
Until November 2004 EDF was a French government corporation, but it is now a limited-liability corporation under private law (société anonyme). The French government partially floated shares of the company on the Paris Stock Exchange in November 2005, although it retains almost 85% ownership as of the end of 2007. The French-owned EDF bought EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Ltd, then known as British Energy, for £12.4 billion in a deal that was finalised in February 2009. This deal was part of a joint venture with UK utility Centrica, who acquired a 20% stake in EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Ltd as well as the option to participate in EDF Energy's UK new nuclear build programme.
In September 2008 EDF, the new owners of Hinkley Point B, announced plans to build a third, twin-unit European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) reactor at Hinkley Point, to join Hinkley Point A (Magnox), which is now closed and being decommissioned, and the Hinkley Point B (AGR), which has a closure date for accounting purposes of 2016 but is likely to be closed much later.
In February 2013 Centrica withdrew from the new nuclear construction programme, citing building costs that were higher than it had anticipated, caused by larger generators at Hinkley Point C, and a longer construction timescale, caused by modifications added after the Fukushima disaster.
Permits and licences
On 26 November 2012 it was announced that the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) had awarded a nuclear site licence to NNB Generation Company, a subsidiary created by EDF Energy. This was the first nuclear site licence awarded for a nuclear power station in the UK since 1987, when one was granted for the construction of Sizewell B in Suffolk.
In March 2013, three environmental permits setting levels for emissions from the proposed power station were granted.
Throughout 2013 the operator has been in negotiations with the Department of Energy and Climate Change and other government agencies. A major sticking point has been a demand by EDF Energy for a guaranteed price for the electricity to be produced, which was aboubt twice the current UK electricity rates. The project is part of the UK's plans to implememt a fifty per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by the mid-2020s, which provide for building this and several other nuclear power plants. By 2013, the operator had invested about £1 billion in site preparation and other start-up costs. If built, the plant will produce about 7% of the UK's electricity needs. Total installation costs are supposed to be £14 billion.
On 19 March 2013, planning consent was given, but agreement on electricity pricing was still required before building could start.
The UK wholesale electricity price in 2013 is about £48 per megawatt-hour. EDF has negotiated a guaranteed fixed price – a "strike price" – for electricity from Hinkley Point C of £92.50 per megawatt-hour (in 2012 prices), which will be adjusted (linked to inflation) during the construction period and over the subsequent 35 years feed-in tariff period agreed upon. Energy company analysts have described the strike price as 'economically insane': “as far as we can see this makes Hinkley Point the most expensive power station in the world... on a leveraged basis we expect EDF to earn a Return on Equity (ROE) well in excess of 20% and possibly as high as 35%. Having considered the known terms of the deal, we are flabbergasted that the UK Government has committed future generations of consumers to the costs that will flow from this deal".
At an estimated £16 billion  the construction costs are more than twice that of two similar EPR reactors at Taishan, China. 'At a November 2007 ceremony attended by Chinese president Hu Jintao and French president Nicolas Sarkozy in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, Areva initialed an €8 billion [£6.7 billion] contract with CGN for the two EPRs at Taishan plus supply of fuel to 2026 and other materials and services for them'.
The price could fall to £89.50/MWh if a new plant at Sizewell is also approved. The UK government strike price is lower for some renewables: £85 per megawatt-hour for sewage gas and £65 for landfill gas. The UK government draft strike price for large solar photo-voltaic is £110 per megawatt-hour in 2019. Independent estimates suggest that photo-voltaic prices will decline more sharply. Using US data to test Wright's hypothesis for the rate of improvement, Nagy et al. say the "expected PV cost in 2020, shown in Fig. 6, is 6 cents/kWh with a range (3, 12). In 2030 the cost is 2 cents/kWh, with a range (0.4, 11). This does not include the additional cost of energy storage technologies". Whereas the UK government photo-voltaic estimate falls by 3% per annum, the Nagy et al. estimate falls by 10% per annum. Photo-voltaic industry estimates agree there is 'huge potential for (PV) cost decline: around 50% until 2020'.
European Pressurised Reactor
EDF plans to use two of Areva NP's EPR design, with a net power output each of 1,600 MWe (1,630 MWe gross). The first commercial EPR power stations are currently being built at Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Finland and Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant in France. These reactors were meant to lead a nuclear renaissance, but have been substantially delayed and are running over-budget. Two more EPR units, Taishan 1 & 2, are being built in China.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has referred to the European Pressurized Reactor, currently under construction in China, Finland and France, as the only new reactor design under consideration in the United States that "...appears to have the potential to be significantly safer and more secure against attack than today's reactors.". However, George Monbiot, a vocal supporter of nuclear power, says that "the clunky third-generation power station chosen for Hinkley C already looks outdated, beside the promise of integral fast reactors and liquid fluoride thorium reactors. While other power stations are consuming nuclear waste, Hinkley will be producing it." 
The EPR design can use 5% enriched uranium oxide fuel, optionally with up to 50% mixed uranium plutonium oxide fuel. The EPR is the evolutionary descendant of the Framatome N4 and Siemens Power Generation Division KONVOI reactors.
In February 2013 a poll published by Ipsos MORI which queried 1046 British individuals determined that support for new nuclear generation capacity was at 42% of the population. With the proportion of the population opposed to new nuclear generation being reported as unchanged at 20%, close to the lowest recorded proportion, by the agency in 2010, of 19% opposed. The results also report that the proportion of the population that was undecided or neutral had increased, and it stood at 38%.
A protest group, Stop Hinkley, was formed to campaign for the closure of Hinkley Point B and oppose any expansion at the Hinkley Point site or elsewhere in the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary. The group is reportedly concerned that the new generation of power stations will store nuclear waste on site until a permanent repository is found – claiming this is an unknown length of time and, could potentially take decades. The group issued a press release opposing any plans for a new power station on 24 September 2008, when it was announced that EDF had offered to acquire British Energy, the protest group has acknowledged that opposition in the local area is by no means unanimous.
In October 2011 more than 200 protesters blockaded the site. Members of several anti-nuclear groups that are part of the Stop New Nuclear alliance barred access to Hinkley Point power station in protest at EDF Energy's plans to renew the site with two new reactors.
In February 2012 about seven protesters set up camp in an abandoned farmhouse on the site of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. They were reportedly "angry West Somerset Council has given EDF Energy the go-ahead for preparatory work before planning permission has been granted". The group also claimed that a nature reserve is at risk from the proposals.
On 10 March 2012, the first anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, two hundred anti-nuclear campaigners formed a symbolic chain around Hinkley Point to voice their opposition to new nuclear power plants, and to call on the coalition government to hold back on its plan for seven other new nuclear plants across the UK. The human chain was planned to continue for 24 hours, with the activists blocking the main Hinkley Point entrance.
1980s PWR proposal
An earlier proposal for a Hinkley Point C power station was made by the Central Electricity Generating Board in the 1980s for a sister power station to Sizewell B, using the same pressurised water reactor design. This proposal obtained planning permission in 1990 following a public enquiry, but was dropped as uneconomic in the early 1990s when the electric power industry was privatised and low interest rate government finance was no longer available.
- Energy policy of the United Kingdom
- Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom
- Nuclear power in the United Kingdom
- "UK nuclear power plant gets go-ahead". BBC News. 21 October 2013.
- Roland Gribben and Denise Roland (21 October 2013). "Hinkley Point nuclear power plant to create 25,000 jobs, says Cameron". Daily Telegraph.
- "Nuclear power: Eight sites identified for future plants". BBC News (BBC). 18 October 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- "Hinkley Point C New Nuclear Power Station". Infrastructure Planning Commission. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
- "Anti-nuclear campaigners set up camp at Hinkley C site". BBC News. 12 February 2012.
- Logan, Chris (31 August 2004). "Coastal wind farm would destroy bird haven say protesters". Telegraph. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- "Nuclear land deal leaves Lady Gass '£50m richer'". Bridgwater Times. 17 November 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- "New nuclear plants get go-ahead". BBC. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
- "New dawn for UK nuclear power". World Nuclear News. 24 September 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
- Bennhold, Katrin (21 November 2005). "EDF shares fail to light up market". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
- "Shareholding policy". Électricité de France. 31 December 2007. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
- "Nuclear energy: British Energy facts". Telegraph.co.uk (London: The Telegraph). 24 September 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
- "EDF plans longer life extensions for UK AGRs". Nuclear Engineering International. 20 February 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
- Carrington, Damian (4 February 2013). "Centrica withdraws from new UK nuclear projects". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- "Hinkley Point nuclear station: Licence granted for site". BBC News (BBC). 26 November 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- "Environmental permits granted for Hinkley Point station". BBC. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
- Stanley Reed; Stephen Castle (15 March 2013). "Britain's Plans for New Nuclear Plant Approach a Decisive Point, 4 Years Late". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- Dave Harvey (19 March 2013). "What price nuclear power? The final hurdle for Hinkley". BBC. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Edward Davey (21 October 2013). "Hinkley C 'is not a deal at any price but a deal at the right price'". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- Laura Kuenssberg (30 October 2013). "Ouch - energy analyst is 'staggered' by UK's nuclear deal'". ITV.
- BBC (21 October 2013). / "'UK nuclear power plant gets go-ahead'". BBC.
- World Nuclear Association (8 November 2013). "'Nuclear Power in China'". World Nuclear Association.
- UK Government. "Levy Control Framework and Draft CfD Strike Prices". UK Government.
- Nagy, B.; Farmer, J.D.; Bui, Q.M.; Trancik, J.E. (2013). Statistical Basis for Predicting Technological Progress.. PLoS ONE 8(2): e52669. p. 6.
- Photovoltaic Industry Association. "Solar photovoltaics: competing in the energy sector". European Photovoltaic Industry Association.
- "Hinkley Point, United Kingdom". Areva. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
- "Hinkley Point C New Nuclear Power Station". National Infrastructure Planning. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- James Kanter. In Finland, Nuclear Renaissance Runs Into Trouble New York Times, 28 May 2009.
- James Kanter. Is the Nuclear Renaissance Fizzling? Green, 29 May 2009.
- Rob Broomby. Nuclear dawn delayed in Finland BBC News, 8 July 2009.
- "Nuclear Power in a Warming World" (PDF). Union of Concerned Scientists. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
- "The farce of the Hinkley C nuclear reactor will haunt Britain for decades". Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
- UK EPR Safety, Security and Environmental Report — submission to UK Health and Safety Executive. Areva NP and EDF. 2007. Retrieved 16 April 2008
- EPR — Areva brochure. Areva NP. May 2005. Retrieved 2 January 2008
- Ipsos Mori Poll 2013. Ipsos-mori.com.
- [http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/02/britain-nuclear-poll-idAFL6E8I2E4H20120702 Reuters. (2 July 2012).
- "In depth: Hinkley Point C proposals". BBC. 17 March 2010.
- "Response to BE takeover by EDF". Stop Hinkley. 24 September 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
- "Hinkley Point power station blockaded by anti-nuclear protesters". The Guardian. 3 October 2011.
- "Brits protest against govt. nuclear plans". PressTV. 10 March 2012.
- Electricity Generating Capacity: Nuclear Power. Hansard. 1 March 1990. HL Deb 1 March 1990 vol 516 cc828-30. Retrieved 9 June 2009
- "Hinkley C Nuclear Power Station given planning permission". Construction News. 14 September 1990. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
- The nuclear energy option in the UK. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. December 2003. postnote 208. Archived from the original on 3 January 2006. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hinkley Point.|
- Infrastructure Planning Commission
- EDF Energy Consultation Site
- Stop Hinkley Local protest group web site