And we are surprised, are we?

The proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power station has been delayed and will not start generating power in 2023 as planned, developer EDF has admitted.

22 thoughts on “And we are surprised, are we?”

  1. EDF and Areva’s business model screwed over by Hollande. Ended up reliant on Chinese cash. Oops. All ‘plans’ in place as in planning permission. Just, no cash.

    We can’t build the stuff on our own ‘cos Gordon Brown flogged off the outfit with the expertise.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    SadButMadLad – “Considering that they haven’t actually started building, the delays are likely to be red tape.”

    It is common for Defence contractors to low-ball their estimates when they are bidding for a project. Once they get it, they start producing slightly more realistic budgets and schedules.

    I am not saying that is what the provider has done. But I note there is about as much competition in reactors as in fighter jets.

  3. Can’t say I’m shedding any tears. Hinkley Point are being offered a guaranteed, CPI-linked electricity price of £92.50/MWh. By comparison, current wholesale electricity price is around £45/MWh. We can have cheap gas power at half the price of nuclear. Consumers are going to be paying for this folly for 35 years – half their lives.

    British engineering projects have a curious habit of costing three times the price of neighbouring countries.

  4. The root cause of the problem is the poor performance of Areva, the main contractor to EDF in their nuclear projects. Nobody has built a nuclear reactor in Europe for such a long time that they don’t have the skills to do it on budget and on time any mor.

    The EDF project at Flamanville just outside Cherbourg has also been delayed. hence sensible lenders have run a mile from Hinckley Point and the French have had to go for funding to the Chinese, who probably hope to get an inside edge on European technology by participating in the project but are also wary of being treated as a stuffee (obviously the case if nobody else is interested).

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    @SMFS

    FYP

    “SadButMadLad – “Considering that they haven’t actually started building, the delays are likely to be red tape.”

    It is common for Defence contractors companies bidding for Governement contracts to low-ball their estimates when they are bidding for a project. Once they get it, they start producing slightly more realistic budgets and schedules.

    I am not saying that is what the provider has done. But I note there is about as much competition in reactors as in fighter jets.”

    Andrew M,

    Its the Pi law, multiple all costs and times by Pi for all large engineering projects and you have something more realistic. Of course if its something that benefits politicians and they have a direct say in how its delivered the Pi^2 is the relevant multiplier.

  6. Abu Dhabi are building (at present) 4 South Korean reactors, cheap, simple, as safe as any other PWR, and making huge progress.

    More reactors to come. Abu Dhabi bought in US nuclear engineers to drive the bus for construction, training, and staff build up.

    ‘We’ could do a lot lot worse than picking up the phone to the South Koreans.

  7. JollyGreenMan,

    I’m afraid I must respectfully disagree:

    The Scottish parliament is a very good example.

    The Scottish Parliament building is an extremely poor example of a British engineering project costing three times as much as it would elsewhere.

    It cost somewhere between 10 and 40 times its original estimates, which were probably somewhere on the British high-ball end of what was actually reasonable.

  8. Considering that they haven’t actually started building

    I don’t know about EDF, but one should not underestimate the ability of the French to change their minds about each and every aspect of an engineering design on a weekly basis, years before the construction phase begins.

  9. ‘We’ could do a lot lot worse than picking up the phone to the South Koreans.

    I’ve worked with the giant Korean construction contractors, and I’d not want them anywhere near a nuclear plant. They are very good at speedy construction but terrible at engineering, and don’t seem to know what quality control is. Their MO is to place an order with a vendor and then hammer them on the cost and schedule, and if the vendor goes bankrupt in the process then the Korean client will consider the contract a success. And they don’t give a shit what gets delivered.

    There is a *huge* difference between Koreans doing work for Koreans, and Koreans doing work for foreigners.

  10. The Edinburgh tram line from the airport to the docks. Or, to be more accurate, half way there. Triumph of British cockupery.

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    dearieme – “The Edinburgh tram line from the airport to the docks. Or, to be more accurate, half way there. Triumph of British cockupery.”

    I would have dissented and said this was an example of Scottish cockupery, but on reflection, pretty much every tram project I can think of has been a cock up.

    I like Manchester’s but does it actually go from anywhere to anywhere else useful? Edinburgh’s is great if you want to go from Princes street to the airport. But for anything else?

    I think we need one for London.

  12. Tim Newman
    “Their MO is to place an order with a vendor and then hammer them on the cost and schedule, ”

    Having been on the sharp end of DMSE contracts, hammer isn’t correct word, it’s nothing short of a full-on assault. When your edged between that and an engineering team that couldn’t deliver to a timeframe to save their lives, life was interesting.

  13. Can’t say I’m shedding any tears. Hinkley Point are being offered a guaranteed, CPI-linked electricity price of £92.50/MWh. By comparison, current wholesale electricity price is around £45/MWh.

    Electricity may well cost £92.50 by 2023 if we continue to close power stations and don’t replace them…

  14. The chinese seem to be having no trouble building reactors on time and on budget.

    And likewise the ones in the US are progressing as planned.

    Ditch EDF and get Westinghouse in.

  15. I was using Alicante’s Tramvia, a lot, last year. Runs over streets in the city & through towns along the coast. Looks more like a railway between them. Runs regularly to time. Cheap – the 90km up to Denia’s 7,50€ one way, short hops are around 1,50€. And like our Malaga C1 it’s very well used. Neatly stitches the coast towns together so, for the user, they become effectively all one place. The cost of bopping between one part & another is trivial in time & money
    Isn’t this what public transport is supposed to do? I’ve no idea what they cost the Spanish to implement, but the payback must be very high. The level of usage would suggest there’s a great deal of value being created.

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