Rocketing Hinkley Point nuclear power costs shows Scotland needs full power over energy policy, says SNP MSP

Latest fears of delays at Hinkley Point are likely to lead to increased costs for the billpayer, the SNP has said – in the latest signal that Tory energy policy is failing Scottish households.

Industry reports suggest that France’s EDF, in charge of developing a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, has been forced to delay energy generation at other sites in Europe due to significant plant problems, likely to affect their UK developments too.  

This latest warning over the beleaguered Hinkley project comes in addition to the fact the cost of the new plant is already three times over budget – and rising. 

French power utility EDF announced that there will be further delays and cost overruns at its Flamanville nuclear site in France. Continued problems with welding – first announced in April – mean 33 welds need to be repaired after quality deficiencies.

The start-up date for the Flamanville 3 reactor has now been pushed back to the second quarter of 2020, having originally been slated for 2012 when construction began in 2007. The revised cost estimate of 10.9bn euros is now three times the original budget.

There is now serious doubt over whether a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point can be built by 2025, or within the £20 billion revised budget which is already set to impact upon consumers’ energy bills. Costs running even further above this exorbitant rate will mean further pain for bill payers. 

These latest fears over Hinkley and expensive nuclear energy comes just one week after the Tories announced plans to scrap feed-in tariffs for renewables projects from next year.

The SNP has reiterated its calls for the plug to be pulled on Hinkley and the billions saved to be reinvested in green energy. 

Gillian Martin, MSP, Aiberdeenshire East
Gillian Martin, MSP, Aiberdeenshire East

SNP MSP Gillian Martin said: “Tory energy policy is failing Scotland – as they continue to hack away at the renewables sector, while putting eyewatering billions into expensive nuclear.  

“This white elephant project is already significantly delayed and well over budget – and the risk of more delays could lead to a higher final bill, if the project ever becomes operational.

“It is a symptom of how confused and misguided Tory energy policy is, cutting support for the clean industries of the future, and continuing to throw money at this project which was racked with problems before it got off the drawing board. 

“The sooner Scotland has full control over energy policy the better – so we can invest wisely in green energy and tackle climate change.” 

27 Jul 2018

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