EDF nuclear chief ‘confident’ Hinkley Point compatible with EU state aid rules

EDF’s Managing Director of Nuclear New Build told a conference on nuclear energy in London on Tuesday that he expects the project will be compliant with EU regulations.

Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson told the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum that he is “confident that the robust steps the company is taking will ensure Hinkley Point C is compatible with EU state aid rules” and also noted that “a number of other countries are also interested in the process we are going through. “
Last week Rosatom ‘s Nikolay Drozdov said the UK contracts for difference model offered the ideal solution, one that if it gets past regulatory barriers, could signal greater nuclear development in central Europe.

The EDF chief was asked if the extent of paperwork and complexity required by UK and EU authorities would eventually deter EDF commitment to build four reactors, when it might be simpler and cheaper to build in another country.

“It is the nature of the beast,” Mr Cadoux-Hudson said. “We have a democratic duty to the country and communities to show that what we are doing is of the highest quality. We don’t resent any of the work we have to do to get the position we are in. Every step of the 20 million construction actions required needs drawings, Meta statements and quality documentation. It’s part of the cost of building nuclear stations, part of making people feel comfortable with having a nuclear power station in their area.”

Mr Cadoux Hudson downplayed the response from the European Commission, which appears to suggest that changes will be sought before the project is permitted to go ahead.

“(For EDF) State aid was in mind all the way through. It would be strange if they (Commission) didn’t make an effort to raise any issue – that process is normal.”

The forum, entitled ‘The future of nuclear energy in the UK: new build, supply chain, planning and energy prices also saw a positive contribution from Hergen Haye, Chief Executive, Office for Nuclear Development at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. But he did emphasise that getting the first project off the ground was vital if the country was serious about being a global new build leader.

“It is imperative to get started but there is a prospect of a significantly larger programme, possibly up to 70 GW by 2050,” he said before referring to the Commission’s decision on the project.

“I think this is a huge decision for Europe and we can get a positive decision by Autumn. It’s very important to give industry the confidence that Europe hasn’t become too expensive to build anything and investors leave altogether. We hope a decision is reached by October and we are grateful for efforts they are putting in and their diligence in reaching a decision, which is critical for future investment. The focus is on getting that first project over the line. The challenges are manifold but the future is bright.”

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