NAO Hinkley report criticises government nuclear strategy
23 Jun 2017
The National Audit Office has made damning criticism of the government’s strategy for the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, dubbing it risky and expensive.
Auditors questioned the value for money produced by the scheme, saying it was “marginal and subject to significant uncertainty”.
The NAO pointed out that the government had done little to quantify the strategic benefits and had little control over the £18 billion project which is being financed by the French and Chinese governments.
French state-controlled firm EDF will be responsible for two thirds of the investment with the remainder from the Chinese – a decision that has raised security concerns in some quarters.
Responding to criticism the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the project would promote a diverse use of energy, supply six million homes and create more than 25,000 jobs.
Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said that the report confirmed that Hinkley Point C was competitive with other low carbon projects and showed nuclear contributed to the lowest cost decarbonisation of UK power supply.
But he added that using a different financing structure could have resulted in a lower strike price and government should reflect on this as other new nuclear projects advance.
He stated: “Not only will new nuclear help secure the UK’s future energy needs, but will lead to substantial industrial and employment benefits – including considerable opportunities for the UK nuclear supply chain and a boost for UK manufacturing and construction at a time when the economy faces significant challenges.”