It's all happening today
Stop Hinkley Campaign reports that a Hinkley C (projected new nuclear power station) partner is 'facing bankruptcy'
The French nuclear design and engineering company whose reactor is set to be built at Hinkley Point Areva is facing severe financial trouble.
The European Pressurised Reactor design favoured by EdF for building at Hinkley Point is owned by Areva.
Experts examining Areva's cash situation just days before its accounts are published show that it is "staring down the barrel of business failure" with a 3 billion Euro bail-out request from the French Government. Overrun costs of its reactor build in Finland have left the project facing a 5.4 billion Euro bill including an invoice to Areva of 2.4 billion Euros in penalties for lateness amounting to over three years. Embarrasingly for Areva, German engineering partners Siemans recently walked away from the project.
South Africa has cancelled a 12 reactor programme with Areva who were also forced to pull out of a Uranium mining venture in Canada. Potential nuclear contracts in Africa, the Middle-East and Eastern Europe have evaporated. Barack Obama has not agreed to a hoped-for $50 billion financial commitment to drive a nuclear renaissance in USA which might have helped Areva who had invested heavily in the country's nuclear future. Areva's shares have slumped by 60 percent since June last year.
Jim Duffy, (above), spokesman for Stop Hinkley said: "Other countries are pulling back from Areva contracts. They don't want to pick up the pieces of a failed nuclear industry. Gordon Brown should also pull the plug on the impending financial disaster that could happen here. Having been burnt by the banking industry taxpayers won't want to bail out a nuclear industry who may run out of cash when reactors are half built."
Update here (17.6.2009)
RL: I have always had an image in my head of abandoned half built nukes littering the countryside as 21st century follies. It was the fairyland finances of nukes that put paid to them under Thatcher. It looks as if money is still the nemesis of the nukes. How long will it take for this truth to penetrate into the musty dusty corridors of Whitehall?