EDF Energy chiefs invited to UK Parliamentary hearing

17 March 2016

The UK's Energy and Climate Change Committee has called EDF Energy, and other energy companies planning to build reactors in the UK, to Parliament on 23 March to give evidence on the future of the nuclear industry.

Chair of the Committee, Angus MacNeil, said today that the government is "counting on" new nuclear to supply a significant proportion of the UK's demand for low-carbon baseload power in future. "The focus right now is on Hinkley Point C but there are other important projects in the pipeline. Serious questions are being raised about the cost and viability of the Hinkley project and the value for money for taxpayers," MacNeil said.

The Committee will hear from commentators that have "raised concerns" about financing nuclear projects, he said, adding, "We will also question the Chief Executive of EDF and other companies planning to build reactors about the challenges for new nuclear across the UK."

Participants, or 'witnesses', at the meeting will include Vincent de Rivaz, EDF Energy CEO and Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, EDF Energy managing director for nuclear new build. Zhu Minhong, general manager of international nuclear business development, and general director of UK nuclear projects, at China General Nuclear, will also give evidence.

Other witnesses will be: Tom Samson, CEO of NuGeneration; Alan Raymant, chief operating officer of Horizon Nuclear Power; Peter Atherton, managing director and head of European utility sector research at Jefferies; Simon Taylor of the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge; and Douglas Parr, chief scientist and policy director at Greenpeace UK.

The planned Hinkley Point C plant - the first new nuclear power station built in the UK in almost 20 years - is scheduled to begin operating in 2025. Under a deal agreed last October, China General Nuclear will take a 33.5% stake in EDF Energy's £18 billion ($28 billion) project to construct the plant. In addition, the two companies will develop projects to build new plants at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex, the latter using Chinese reactor technology.

In January, EDF Energy's French state-owned parent company, EDF, again delayed making a final investment decision for the construction of the Hinkley plant. A decision had been expected by the end of 2015. Earlier this month, the chief executive of EDF, Jean-Bernard Levy, said he wants to reach a final decision soon on investing in the plant after the resignation of the company's finance chief, Thomas Piquemal.

NuGeneration - a 60%/40% joint venture between Toshiba and GDF Suez - in 2014 confirmed plans to build three Westinghouse AP1000 pressurized water reactors at Moorside in West Cumbria by the end of 2026 with a total capacity of 3.4 GWe. The first unit is expected to begin operating by the end of 2024. A final investment decision is expected to be taken by the end of 2018.

In January, the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) announced there has been some program "slippage" in a number of topic areas for the generic design acceptance (GDA) of the Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactor design. In its latest quarterly report on GDAs, the ONR said that Westinghouse is working to "re-baseline the overall program” with the objective of enabling the ONR and the Environment Agency to make decisions about issuing a Design Acceptance Confirmation and Statement of Design Acceptance Confirmation in January 2017, as per the current schedule.

Horizon Nuclear Power, the wholly owned UK subsidiary of Japan's Hitachi, plans to deploy the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor at two sites - Wylfa Newydd, which is on the Isle of Anglesey, and Oldbury-on-Severn, in South Gloucestershire. In January, Hitachi announced the incorporation of a new UK company - Hitachi Nuclear Energy Europe - as part of its strategy to enhance its UK presence for the engineering, procurement and construction of Horizon's new nuclear power plant development at Wylfa Newydd. Hitachi Nuclear Energy Europe will lead Tokyo-headquartered Hitachi's work in a proposed joint venture with potential partners Bechtel Management Company and JGC Corporation.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News