Saturday, March 14, 2009

EDF warns against planning delays to UK's new nuclear programme

French energy giant EDF warned this week that it "will not tolerate" significant planning delays to the UK's ВЈ40bn new build nuclear programme.

EDF intends to build at least four twin reactors in the UK, each worth around ВЈ2bn. Civils contracts for the first EDF new build nuclear plant will be let later this year with construction on site starting in 2013.  However the French utility would shelve its plans if it had to face a repeat of the Terminal 5 and Sizewell B planning fiascos, which saw both projects face years of  planning delay.

Speaking at the "Nuclear Build: Construction Challenges" conference in London this week, Richard Mayson, EDF's external affairs director said: "We are very happy to take on the normal commercial risk of building new nuclear plants in the UK but planning risks must be minimised. We will not tolerate anything like the Terminal Five or Sizewell B scenarios."  Due to planning delays, Sizewell B, the last nuclear power station to be built in the UK, took 12 years to build. 


EDF warns against planning delays to UKs new nuclear programme


Mayson also warned that the UK Government must green light the reactor designs before EDF's newbuild programme begins. Two reactor designs - the Areva EPR and the Westinghouse AP1000 - are awaiting Government approval for use in the UK. The process, known as the generic design assessment, is expected to be completed by the summer of 2011. Construction work on EDF's first new nuclear plant is expected to begin in 2013. 

Mayson said EDF was already gathering a "huge amount" of preparatory data on its sites in the UK "particularly the southern UK sites." He added that the firm's "primary focus was to progress applications for the Hinckley Point and Sizewell sites" with twin reactors planned for both sites. 

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