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By a Newsnet reporter

Doubts have been raised over the viability of the UK Government’s nuclear policy following claims that the French construction company EDF may be about to pull out of the UK nuclear programme in order concentrate on France’s domestic renewables sector.

The claims follow the recent French elections and the instalment of Francois Hollande as the new French President after the defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy.

France currently relies on nuclear power for 75% of its electricity, a figure Hollande wants to reduce to 50% by 2025 with a greater focus on renewables.  There has also been talk of phasing out France’s nuclear power altogether within 20 or 30 years.

Speculation is now high that the French Government will order energy company EDF to divert billions of Euros, intended for new UK nuclear reactors, back into the French domestic sector.

Such a move would all but kill off the UK Government’s nuclear policy and would mirror moves by the German groups E.ON and RWE, which said in March that they had scrapped their UK nuclear new-build plans.

The election win for Hollande was a diplomatic disaster for UK PM David Cameron who publicly endorsed Hollande’s rival Nicolas Sarkozy in the run up to the election.

Cameron backed Sarkozy in February and compounded the move by then snubbing Mr Hollande when he made a recent trip to London, the Tory leader preferring to meet Labour leader Ed Miliband instead.

Mr Cameron and Mr Sarkozy also recently signed a deal which would have seen French firms build the next generation of nuclear power stations in the UK.

The rumours of a possible pull-out by EDF coincides with news that costs of building any new nuclear plants have increased by forty per cent.  The industry has struggled to re-assert itself following the disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan.

New safety, construction and administrative costs have led to estimates escalating, The Times reported last week that the cost of the first two reactors set for Hinkley Point in Somerset have risen from £10 billion to £14 billion.

Subsidies planned by the UK Government have also led to claims that household bills would have to increase by up to three times their current levels in order to make nuclear power viable.

Speaking on Newsweek Scotland on Saturday, Energy expert Antony Froggatt said that as costs in nuclear continue to rise, costs in renewables were actually falling – in some cases by as much as forty percent.

Speaking to host Derek Bateman, Mr Froggatt said: “Nuclear construction costs are increasing … in the case of the reactors that are being proposed by EDF, it’s French designed and built by a company called Arriva, and both of those have experienced incredibly large cost overruns and delays.”

Mr Froggatt added: “We’re seeing an increased expectation of construction costs while the cost of renewables and other low carbon generators is going down.

“For example, in terms of Solar PV, the unit cost fell by forty per cent in the last 12 months.

Mr Froggatt explained that part of the UK Coalition agreement was that there be no subsidy for nuclear.

However he went on to claim that a controversial system known as ‘contract for difference’ that would see the construction company being guaranteed a fixed price for nuclear generated electricity, was no more than subsidy by another name.

Mr Froggatt also explained that using the costs of the two reactors at Hinkley Point as a basline, then the cost of electricity in the UK would have to double or even treble in order to meet the guaranteed price.  Based on the new figures, nuclear would be the most expensive form of electricity generation, exceeding even offshore wind.

The debate over subsidy may be rendered academic if, as is being rumoured, Francis Hollande tells state controlled EDF to pull out of the UK nuclear sector.  Should EDF walk away from the UK then there will be no company left to build new nuclear plants.

In Scotland the SNP Government is currently driving forward with its renewable policy and has refused to sanction the building of new nuclear power plants.

Alex Salmond’s SNP administration has insisted Scotland’s renewable potential is vast and has the potential to generate tens of thousands of jobs and re-industrialise the nation.

Comments  

 
# loamfeet 2012-05-13 19:14
Great news.
 
 
# border reiver 2012-05-13 20:01
So much for Camerons energy policy, everything he touches turns sour. Perhaps if he calls Alex he can get some advice on how to run a proper government.
 
 
# Jim Johnston 2012-05-13 20:02
That will be a hellofa shock for Westminster......and great news for common sense.
 
 
# alexmc8275 2012-05-13 20:11
Ah the auld alliance alive and well perhaps, there can be no doubt Cameron must be making buttons.
 
 
# Leswil 2012-05-13 20:15
Well Well,
Is it only me that has noticed that Michael Moore has had a sudden interest in renewable energies? He was on tv yesterday spouting on about Scotland's natural resources being a very important market. He tried to show, not very convincingly that he actually knew all about it.
I guess he knew about this problem in advance. However, no one in Scotland will be surprised that he is now trying to piggy back on what Alex Salmond has been saying for years.
 
 
# Big Eye 2012-05-13 20:30
Dear oh dear looks like the SNP WERE RIGHT AGAIN.

Just waiting for the "SNP accused of being right" headline

Yes your right it will never happen in the MSM
 
 
# Exile 2012-05-14 12:05
My late (Tory) father always used to accuse Alex Salmond of being "so right". But then he used to accuse me of that too whenever I had an opinion of my own.
 
 
# xyz 2012-05-13 20:39
Maybe they should employ the Iranians to build the next generation of nuclear power plants in England. Iran has the expertise I understand :-0
 
 
# Marga B 2012-05-13 20:42
On the Hollande victory, it has given a lift to socialists here, so maybe UK socialists will try to hitch on to his bandwagon too.

However it remains to be seen if he is more in tune with the SNP than with British socialists, only time will tell.
 
 
# govanite 2012-05-13 20:46
british socialists - who ?
 
 
# oldnat 2012-05-13 20:47
As we have seen from the council coalition agreements, many of the British "socialists" here are actually more in tune with the Tories than with other Social Democratic parties.
 
 
# C2DEalba 2012-05-13 22:20
I'm amazed that anyone on hear thinks of the British Labour party as socialists or even socially democratic. Labour are a right wing neoliberal party for the rich just the same as the tories and have been for a very long time.

Labour are using the language of branding and marketing with its social justice rubbish but it does not believe in them.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-05-13 22:30
Sorry if I hit a nerve but in Spain they still call themselves socialists so I've got hardened to the mis-match of origin and present state.

But I still think Cameron is probably behind them. Or which of the brains behind the Scottish Labour contingent do you think has thought up the present master plan?
 
 
# cirsium 2012-05-14 12:52
Marga B - Frankly Francophone had an interesting article on the neo-liberal co-option of left wing parties .../chalk-and-cheese.html

I fear that Hollande is another Blair or Obama.
 
 
# xyz 2012-05-13 20:47
OT - anti-independence eejits are making hay while there is not clear advice on defence in an independent Scotland. For example: www.defencemanagement.com/.../

and Scotsman newspaper here:
scotsman.com/.../...

and of course the detestable BBC here:
bbc.co.uk/.../...

The article ends in ignorance .. but I'm sorry to say it is difficult to set the record straight as I don't know the facts re defence in an independent Scotland. Are the Scottish government not going to shoot these foxes .. and soon? preferably before the Defence Select Committee are allowed to spew negative scorn over defence forces in an independent Scotland.
 
 
# oldnat 2012-05-13 20:58
from that article "RUSI academic Professor Malcolm Chalmers, who said Scotland would be unable to raise more than £2bn for defence".

The Prof may be a little biased/ignorant (delete as appropriate) since Scotland already contributes around £3.3 billion in taxation to support UK "Defence" spending.

As an academic, one would have expected him to have even a passing knowledge of the defence provision that the Nordic countries (of our size) deliver for £2 billion.

Perhaps he is concerned that Scotland will be invaded/destroyed by ICBMs if we don't have nuclear weapons - after all.we all know that all the non-nuclear states in the world have been wiped out already - isn't that the case?
 
 
# xyz 2012-05-13 21:07
:)) quite right .. and also re prof Chalmers ignorance .. I'm sure I commented those exact sentiments somewhere on-line.

However I have no answer re the claim that our first minister is quoted as saying one base each for army, navy and air-force ...
 
 
# Jim1320 2012-05-13 21:32
Currently in Scotland we have, after all the defence cuts, one naval base and one air base left. There are the main army barracks at Edinburgh and there are a number of other military sites providing more barracks and logistical and maintenance support. To simply take these on as a going concern is the most practical approach. It would be possible in the longer term to reopen Leuchars or Rosyth if more of a footprint was deemed necessary.

The snorts of derision regarding the SNP proposals ignore the reality on the ground. This is the current size of the Scottish defence capability. It isn't as if the SNP are proposing to shut everything down. They are proposing to run with what is there.

Good God, if the current size and number of the UK forces had been suggested in the 80s there would have been Generals snorting in derision and scoffing that it simply couldn't be done.
 
 
# xyz 2012-05-13 22:26
Thanks for that. I am tempted to short circuit all arguments by posting links to the various web pages highlighting Scotland's position in the GDP per Capita by country table. ... There are no downsides to independence .. well .... there are for Westminster .. and they can ...
 
 
# Leswil 2012-05-14 08:27
We are talking of armies here. Definition of an army is over 100,000 personnel ( according to a recent article in one of the daily rags), below that is technically a Militia.
So BOTH rUK and Scotland would have a Militia. No problem for Scotland I imagine, but the rUK will cringe!
 
 
# Jim1320 2012-05-13 21:21
Had a quick look at the Scotsman piece. It really has become the last redoubt of the swivel eyed Scotland hating oddballs hasn't it? No wonder the paper's circulation has been in free fall. The paper should be re-named The anti-Scotsman.
 
 
# govanite 2012-05-13 20:50
Anyone know how many Labour/Tory power sharing agreements there are in English councils ?
 
 
# scottish_skier 2012-05-13 21:01
Anyone found anything on the MSM about this? If correct is going to be a huge embarrassment for the UK government. Imagine needing that renewable energy from poor wee basket case Scotland.

Incidentally - wind fair blowing out there tonight....
 
 
# govanite 2012-05-13 21:05
and the lochs are full too
 
 
# oldnat 2012-05-13 21:15
How can you be concerned with such trivia, when BBC News is carrying this important story? "Why are England's wig-makers thinning out?"

bbc.co.uk/.../...

Don't you know our place in the UK? Shame on you! :-)
 
 
# mealer 2012-05-13 21:41
Its a wee bit of a doublee edged one.It looks like Scotland will be nuclear free whether or not we stay in the union.Depriving us of an argument.But at the same time dispelling the myth that nobody will want our surplus renewable energy.But the main thing is,there wont be nuclear reactors anywhere near Scotland.Hopefully.
 
 
# Leswil 2012-05-14 08:37
It will be a long time before Scotland is nuclear free. First off-Faslane will take time to close down and do not be surprised for it to take 5 years or more. ( yes, we can charge a huge rent for it, but they will not go for some time.

Power stations are more predictable but again not overnight.

Last, and the biggest problem to a nuclear free Scotland is the depleted uranium that is being buried in Northern Scotland. This being allowed is the work of a lunatic, we are having this horrific stuff dumped on us by nuclear nations across the globe.
This will effect us for many HUNDREDS of years if not more. The more that comes, the longer it will take to eventually remove it. It is a scandal of huge proportions.The countries involved should take back their own nuclear waste, and contracts duly ripped up, this is our land, and not subject to Westminster agreements in a free and Independent Scotland.
This agreement needs stopped NOW.
Maybe having all nuclear material removed from Scotland could be the cost of the rental of Faslane for a possible 5 years that it may take to dismantle it.?
It would be worth it! Also include all other nuclear/radiation hotspots across Scotland left by the MOD.
 
 
# dundie 2012-05-14 22:39
Willie McRae warned about this years ago. And died because of it.
 
 
# scottish_skier 2012-05-13 21:43
Here's something from 5 days ago that supports this story:

reuters.com/.../...

UK nuclear build requires taxpayer rescue -Citi

A report from the Times newspaper on Monday said French nuclear developer EDF had raised the cost of building a nuclear power plant to 7 billion pounds from 4.5 billion pounds last year.

"If the latest cost figures are true, new nuclear power plants in the UK are not commercially viable," Citi analyst Peter Atherton told Reuters.

Based on the new figures, nuclear would be the most expensive form of electricity generation, exceeding even offshore wind, he said.
 
 
# chicmac 2012-05-14 00:38
Exceeding offshore wind?
My goodness.

I calculated from EEA data that the approx 30 GW of offshore wind capacity planned for the UK (mostly off England SE coast) was going to add 300 pounds per year or more to every electricity bill in the UK compared to what the 30GW would cost if it were produced onshore.

However English NIMBYISM has precluded that - till now. See chart:

i51.photobucket.com/.../...

Maybe now they will be forced to do their onshore bit for climate change?
 
 
# jafurn 2012-05-13 22:06
O/T a retweet from newsnetscotland

Norman Will ‏ @grumpynorman
Press and Journal - Article - Secret plot to undermine SNP claims revealed: bit.ly/KYO0Kk

Retweeted by Newsnet Scotland
 
 
# oldnat 2012-05-13 22:48
However, the story is rather old!
 
 
# jafurn 2012-05-13 23:17
Quoting oldnat:
However, the story is rather old!


It is rather old I was only posting it as it was a retweet from NNS and perhaps others would not get the tweet.

However it does give another insight into how the unionists ,at every turn,are trying to undermine Scottish aspiration.
 
 
# xyz 2012-05-13 23:11
In the article:
"... if Shetland, and possibly Orkney, remained in the UK, “a large part of the Northern North Sea now counting as Scottish waters, including substantial reserves of oil, would not be Scottish under international law”."

This is a lie of course .. maybe that is the whole point of the article. Just to seed that false premise in the minds of readers.
 
 
# Mei 2012-05-14 08:10
"confidential briefings of selected public opinion informers" - an interesting turn of phrase.
Record, Scotsman, BBC Scotland?
 
 
# ubinworryinmasheep 2012-05-13 23:19
If, sorry when we get independence what will be the score regarding The National Grid ? We only have 8% of the population but more than 8% of the grid I'd have thought. Will they try and take our pylons ? will they try and leave us with the Dounreay cleanup costs ?
 
 
# Edzell Blue 2012-05-13 23:33
They won't be able to touch the pylons because in Scotland the electricity grid is owned by Scottish Power and SSE.
I remember oldnat posting something months ago that stated that fixed assets in a Country belong to the country and are not included in any division of assets. This means that the Scottish Parliament is not included but the equipment in it is.
 
 
# K Mackay 2012-05-14 02:15
Quoting Edzell Blue:
This means that the Scottish Parliament is not included but the equipment in it is.


What if we nailed the equipment down?
 
 
# xyz 2012-05-13 23:33
Off the top of my head .. if they demanded payment for pylons and other grid related assets .. we will of course be demanding payment for the M25, the Channel Tunnel, Buckingham palace, .. you name we own 8.5 percent of it .. except any coal, gas and oil they find in their waters or in their land.
 
 
# Embradon 2012-05-14 00:06
Slightly OT but energy related.

Remember the scare stories about declining oil revenue?
IMF don't seem to think so:
guardian.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# scottish_skier 2012-05-14 06:32
Some good news.

bbc.co.uk/.../...

Bank of Scotland says private sector growth continues

Output and employment are continuing to grow solidly in Scotland's private sector, according to new data....

This follows recent manufacturing export data which showed growth of 4.8% in 2011 and HMRC data saw Scotland's exports in all goods increase by 18% in 2011 - the largest rise of all four UK countries - demonstrating that Scottish government efforts to strengthen our economic links in overseas markets are paying off.
 
 
# pictic-1 2012-05-14 07:03
O/T

Here's something you WON'T be reading about in the Scotsman or other so called scottish newspapers. Glasgows shame.

dailymail.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# xyz 2012-05-14 08:56
well read it here in the anti-scottish daily express.

scottishdailyexpress.co.uk/.../...

Naturally some Tory eeejit gets to put the boot into the SNP ... ...
 
 
# jafurn 2012-05-14 10:04
Quoting pictic-1:
O/T

Here's something you WON'T be reading about in the Scotsman or other so called scottish newspapers. Glasgows shame.

dailymail.co.uk/.../...



The Herald actualy gives a more balanced account of what Mr. Hunter said...

heraldscotland.com/.../...

"BILLIONAIRE businessman Sir Tom Hunter has stepped into the independence referendum debate, warning politicians to stop scaremongering.

: Brian Currie Political Editor
He said what was needed was a positive debate about the future so people could assess both sides of the argument and then vote with "deep insight" because "our children deserve no less".

Sir Tom said: "I'd like to see the debate about independence anchored in ambition and I think it's time for those politicians who use scaremongering as a tactic to halt the independence bandwagon to stop; it's a recipe for delivering precisely what they don't want because Scottish voters are not daft."


He also questioned claims the ballot should take place before Alex Salmond's planned timetable of 2014.

He said: "We have only lightly touched the edges of the debates we need for our country's future; do they really want to compress that debate for political expediency? A speedy referendum might suit some, but it certainly doesn't suit democracy."

Sir Tom also claimed there was an over-reliance in Scotland on the benefits system. He said: "The fact is the welfare state has enabled us to become pampered, dependent people who expect what others strive and graft for."
 
 
# 1scot 2012-05-14 10:16
Personal attack removed - NNS Mod Team
 
 
# Dancemaster 2012-05-14 14:11
"Speculation is now high that the French Government will order energy company EDF to divert billions of Euros, intended for new UK nuclear reactors, back into the French domestic sector."

Hmmmmmm, seems unlikely. Why would the French government want to prevent such an inflow of funds to the French economy?
 
 
# scottish_skier 2012-05-14 14:23
So that they are spent in France. The UK projects are not looking profitable and Mr Hollande may wish those billions to be spent in France on 'capital projects' to help boost jobs/their economy.

Yet to be confirmed, but this story is appearing in other places:

edp24.co.uk/.../...

"Mycle Schneider, a Paris-based nuclear energy consultant and former adviser to the French government, claims Sizewell C will never be built.

“It would be intelligent at this stage for the UK government to seriously consider other options,” he said. “If I was advising the French government I would be asking whether it appeared sensible for a state-owned company to be committing billions to something overseas.

“Mr Hollande is currently waiting for an in-depth analysis of exactly where the French economy is but I doubt he is going to get a pleasant surprise. This may well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

“I don’t think Sizewell C will be built. The economics are clear. The company may still be saying they are committed to it but E.ON and other firms have said similar things before cancelling projects.”
"
 
 
# Angus 2012-05-14 20:22
Surprisingly BBC Radio Scotland aired plans for the new under sea link between Scotland and Norway for the export / import of power, part of the Euro power grid. Unfortunately I only caught 5 minutes of the interviews.
 
 
# Angus 2012-05-14 20:28
O/T This is a good article in the Herald

heraldscotland.com/.../...
 
 
# Clydebuilt 2012-05-14 21:32
Heard today on BBC radio that Peter Hain is to resign his post as the Labour's shadow Welsh secretary, to concentrate on campaigning for a Severen Tidal barrage.

So things are moving on....

OT couldn't access this sight for most of today, message was something like connection reset.
 
 
# mealer 2012-05-15 05:49
Angus,
thanks for the link to the Herald article.I've always thought the unionists were not only scared of a referendum,but terrified of the debate.They would fine like to continue arguing about timing etc for as long as posssible to distract people from thinking about the positives of independence.And of course,one of the major positives is that an independent Scotland will have control over a substantial chunk of Europes renewable energy resources.
 
 
# Ard Righ 2012-05-15 20:35
If ever there was a clear indication of how corporations run the world, this is it.

An independent Scotland must have the ability to oust gargantuan corporations that can wreck the stability of communities.
 

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