Nukiller Games Continue….Unless

NUclear Free Local Authorities media release – for immediate release, 4th April 2017
As Engie becomes the seventh international energy utility to give up on UK
new nuclear build, NFLA say now is the time to move towards a
decentralised, renewable energy alternative policy

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) notes with little surprise
today’s decision by the French energy utility Engie to pull out of the
proposed Sellafield Moorside new nuclear development. This follows
Toshiba’s nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse going into bankruptcy protection
in the United States and its decision that it will not fund new nuclear
reactors at the Moorside site. (1)

Engie follows on from the previous decisions over the past decade of E-on
(Wylfa), RWE Npower (Wylfa), Iberdrola (Moorside), SSE (Moorside),
Centrica (Hinkley Point) and seemingly Toshiba as well (Moorside) who have
pulled out of developing new nuclear reactors in the UK.

The decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by Westinghouse
Electric Co in late March has been defined as ‘an event of default’ that
allows Engie to exercise its option to sell its stake to Toshiba. Toshiba
has therefore had to agree to buy Engie’s 40% stake in the Moorside
nuclear joint venture NuGen for an expected 15.3 billion yen (£110.8

In February Toshiba announced that, though it would work on further
initial development work at the Moorside site, it wants to sell its stake
in the project and withdraw from it. At present, the UK Energy Minister
Greg Clark is planning to travel to South Korea in a seemingly desperate
bid to get the state utility Kepco to take up Toshiba’s stake. Now it will
presumably be asked to take up the whole 100% of NuGen, unless the
Government offer to put in a financial share to the company, which may
cost as much as £7 billion upwards in order to realise the project. (2)

NFLA urges Greg Clark and the UK Government to admit the game is up. With
EDF also under a mountain of debt putting its investment in Hinkley Point
at risk (along with many other nuclear safety and decommissioning issues
it has to deal with in France), and Hitachi posting a recent $620 million
(£498 million) loss due to abandoning a planned uranium enrichment project
in the United States, it is abundantly clear that the private sector
cannot fund new nuclear in the UK. (3)

The alternative solution is obvious, and Engie itself is one of the prime
examples of it, as it moves towards delivering decentralised and renewable
energy projects around the UK. The price of solar and wind power is
tumbling, energy storage technology is coming on tap, tidal and geothermal
energy are looking more attractive and local authorities across the UK and
Ireland are doing all they can to get into the energy market. The
Government cannot ignore the obvious – the ‘big energy’ model has
collapsed. It is time to follow the German and Danish example and embrace
the decentralised energy revolution instead.

NFLA Steering Committee Chair Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
“The decision by Engie to abandon Sellafield Moorside and the nuclear
renaissance is driven by cold, hard, rational logic. There was never a
nuclear renaissance as the finances for it have never been there. I urge
the government not to chuck billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to save
this policy. It has to rapidly change course and embrace the renewables it
has tried so hard to weaken in the past year. Local councils would be more
than happy to cooperate with it to deliver decentralised energy policies
that are eminently realisable and would create thousands of high quality
local jobs, assist in the mitigation of climate change and reduce the
modern scourge of fuel poverty. Greg Clark should not be going to South
Korea, he should be initiating an energy review to redirect policy to the
renewable energy revolution.”


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