Op-ed: New UK PM Theresa May stamped on Hinkley C nuclear power plans late Thursday but why?
All the pomp, ceremony and fanfare was in place but at the eleventh hour May pulled back and postponed the final commitment to the deal.
The GMB union and some in Labour have described the decision as bonkers and chaos.
French company EDF is financing most of the £18bn project and approved the funding earlier Thursday. Friday contracts were ready for signing.
But then Ms May pulled the plug.
Existing plans to build the new nuclear power facility in Somerset are costly and in some ways destined to hand UK energy and nuclear power over to China and France.
The UK is about to reach an energy crisis and action must be taken and soon.
But people are not 100% behind nuclear power especially provided by a foreign source.
The proposed deal will also sign the British public up to over the odds expensive energy for many years to come. Consumers will be faced with increased bills.
Many contracts relating to the new energy plans are ready; signing was scheduled for Friday but in September the government was due to rubber stamp the project.
Was the date brought forward on the back of BRexit?
The original deal was David Cameron's government with Chancellor George Osborne balancing budgets.
Post BRexit Cameron resigned and Osborne was sacked and we have a new unelected government in charge of the country.
So much is being blamed on BRexit but in truth nothing has changed yet.
Until May invokes Article 50 the UK remains a member of the European Union in spite of what the mainstream media report.
But postponing the Hinkley C deal will not improve relations with France and China.
The following is our post from September 2015 which also includes information from April 2015. The deal goes back to 2013 and the Lib Dem Tory coalition government:
"UK nuclear power was back in the news as Chancellor George Osborne announced that the UK will guarantee a £2bn deal under which China will invest in the Hinkley Point nuclear power station.
"Mr Osborne, who is in China, said the deal would pave the way for a final investment decision on the delayed project by French energy company EDF" reported BBC News.
How does that make British people feel?
It leaves this English woman at a loss with the Tory government of the UK. They continue to sell the country to the highest bidder; the deal with China means that the people of the UK will face excessive energy bills for years to come.
The Tory deal has a high cost of energy to customers factored in.
Then there is the fact that made in Britain is now made in China.
Goods bought and sold in the UK usually have a Chinese influence somewhere along the line, even if only as one of the parts; inevitably the goods are sub-standard or second-class and built to fail and keep the wheels of consumerism belting along full circle.
As for handing the UK's nuclear future and its safety over to foreign investors you have to wonder why. When those investors are from France and China you may want to scream nooo!
France is no fan of the UK and its people; China is a law unto itself with a terrible record of human rights and animal welfare.
Do we really have no other option than to throw our hand in with such a nation?
The report below was written in April 2015.
Dangerous and expensive white elephant Hinkley C
We reported in October 2013 that the British coalition government had signed a deal allowing French energy company EDF to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C, in Somerset, England. Other countries still have such resources in the hand of the home nation but not the Tory Lib Dem alliance. The deal puts our nuclear energy industry firmly in the hands of private business, and foreign nationals.
In 2015 Hinkley C was making headlines but for all the wrong reasons.
The Somerset County Gazette reported "The future of the multi-billion pound Hinkley Point C project has again been put into doubt after nuclear reactors designed for the plant were discovered to have “very serious” faults. A reactor vessel already installed at the huge Flamanville plant in Normandy was found to have weak spots in the lid and the bottom which could reduce the resistance of the metal."
'Stop Hinkley' reported "The Flamanville reactor is currently under construction in France and has already drawn criticism for running over both its schedule and budget, but fresh concerns over a manufacturing element key to the reactor’s safety has provoked fresh concern in the UK over EDF’s plans for Hinkley."
But the writing had been on the wall for some time.
In February the Guardian reported "The timetable surrounding the construction of Britain’s first new atomic reactors in almost 30 years has once again been blown off course, its developer, EDF Energy, has admitted. The setback came as the French-owned generator and supply company reported a 25% slump in operating profits for 2014 to £863m, which it blamed on challenging market conditions."
Background to Hinkley C
In 2013 we expressed concern that EDF will have Chinese investors working on this important facility in the UK; Chancellor Osborne on a trip to China announced that China National Nuclear Corporation and China General Nuclear Power Corporation will be minority shareholders.
A French and China alliance controlling nuclear energy in the UK is not ideal. Will foreigners care about the UK? Will they give a damn about prices? Will they worry about our nuclear safety? These are just a few concerns.
The Financial Times reported: "The agreement was reached after the government guaranteed a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour for electricity produced at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. The “strike price”, fully indexed to consumer price inflation, is roughly double the current price of power."
As that price is linked to the UK CPI it will rise accordingly.
In 2013 UK PM David Cameron welcomed the deal, claiming it would create 25,000 jobs but a 'Stop Hinkley' member told morning TV News in the UK that those jobs would simply be of the "muck shifting" type; he was quoting an EDF boss.
Britain is facing an energy crisis - fact.
Cameron appears proud that British taxpayers will not fund the construction of this new nuclear plant but taxpayers will pay for it through excessively high prices for electricity. Cameron's spin makes no sense - taxpayers are consumers and we all need and use electricity.
The British Tory party has a track record of privatisation -- selling off our few remaining resources to the highest bidder; looking after private industry, shareholders, big business and the elite is their main aim.
What of the Lib Dems though, a supposedly liberal political party? The Stop Hinkley group has a wide range of supporters including former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown.
As an incentive to fund this building project EDF are able to fix a price for electricity provided by the Hinkley Point C reactor for the next 35 years; and as we said reports say that price will be double current rates.
EDF is building a similar reactor in France but as a contract for the French government who will retain ownership of the site. Back in 2013 the work was behind schedule and costs escalating.
Allowing EDF to have full control and responsibility over the new plant in the UK may speed up operations and cut costs but at what price? We all know full well what happens when you cut corners.
Has the world learned the lessons of Fukushima or not? BBC News 2013: "Highly radioactive water has leaked from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan after unexpectedly heavy rain on Sunday, its operator said. Water with high levels of the toxic isotope Strontium-90 overflowed containment barriers around water tanks, operator Tepco said. The tanks are being used to store contaminated cooling water from the plant's damaged reactors."
And Fukushima is still in trouble.