Areva. EDF, Britain nuclear, CGN, China General Nuclear Corporation, China National Nuclear Corporation, CNNC, Hinkley Nuclear, Hinkley Point, Kuwait Investment Authority, nuclear energy impacts, nuclear waste storage, Qatar Investment Authority, radioactive waste disposal, Sovereign Wealth Fund, UK, unfair competition, uranium mining
“Rhodri Morgan: Beware the price promises of Hinkley Point nuclear station. 26 Oct 2013
Former First Minister and WalesOnline columnist Rhodri Morgan muses over the deal struck for ‘first private sector nuclear power station’ – run by four nationalised industries:
I could barely believe my ears when I heard the announcement this week of the new nuclear power station to be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset, right opposite Cardiff Airport.
The BBC kept referring to it as Britain’s first-ever private sector nuclear power station.
What the report should have said was that it was to be built by a consortium of four nationalised industries, two French and two Chinese.
Three of the four are 100% state-owned and one is 85%. Overseas nationalised industries are not in the private sector.”
See the rest of the article here: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/news-opinion/rhodri-morgan-beware-price-promises-6243754 (bold added for emphasiss)
In a supposedly capitalist world aren’t majority state-owned foreign companies unfair competition? Will France and China be responsible for clean-up or will the risk be socialized to the UK, meaning are profits socialized to France-China and risk to the UK?
Indeed it seems that the financial risks are to be socialized onto the backs of the UK citizen. One can guess that any profits will likely go to the minority stake investors, rather than to the citizens of France or China. In that context you can be certain that the financial risk of accident will fall upon the UK citizen and, because it is in the UK, environmental risk falls on the back of the UK people and environment.
But, there are several more things: Firstly, mining of uranium contaminates the environment in such a way that restoration to its original state appears impossible, and most companies have not even made an attempt at restoration of water, etc.
Secondly, uranium mining creates water shortages, as well as polluting the water (and air and soil) with radiation. Thus, there are permanent environmental impacts on other, uranium mining, countries created by the UK Government’s nuclear choice.
Thirdly, there is no acceptable, safe place to put the existing nuclear waste. No one wants it with good reason. So why are they trying to create more of it?
Any proper underground disposal would need to be containers within solid underground bunkers which are also constantly monitored for forever. Monitoring creates jobs but no one seems interested in that. Finland seems the only country moving forward with an apparently proper repository set-up, but they intend to only monitor the site for 100 years until it is full.
And, speaking of jobs: Since the UK is in the EU there can be no guarantee of short or long-term employment for people of the area. The unemployed from elsewhere in Europe can and will most certainly migrate there. Nonetheless, financial and environmental risk is local — Go figure.
As far as siting of uranium mines and of uranium storage facilities, it is clear that the impacts fall disproportionately upon rural, small town populations who are often poor and vulnerable; who have little voice due to their small numbers, their poverty, and who sometimes are not educated enough to understand the dangers of radiation. Does anyone imagine that a nuclear waste storage facility would be placed under the City of London, whatever the geology was?
Something is rotten in the UK. And, by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.
Additional relevant information:
Gulf State Sovereign Wealth Funds (state-owned investment) from Kuwait or Qatar may also get into the Hinkley nuclear consortium game. China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) will be 30-40% of the consortium, French Areva will be 10%. Up to 15% of the Hinkley consortium may go to the Kuwait Investment Authority, Qatar Investment Authority or other candidates: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/business/energy/2013/10/23/Gulf-funds-may-take-stake-in-EDF-s-UK-nuclear-project-paper.html
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuwait_Investment_Authority http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_wealth_fund
[NB: State-owned Rosatom is trying to get in on the UK nuclear game as well: “In 2012 Russian firm Rosatom stated that in the future it intended to certify the VVER-1200 with the British and U.S. regulatory authorities, though was unlikely to apply for a British license before 2015, after having seen what agreements EDF finally reaches. In September 2013 Rosatom, in conjunction with Fortum and Rolls-Royce, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK government to prepare for a VVER Generic Design Assessment.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_the_United_Kingdom (references at link)]
Regarding financial risk and liability see: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jun/27/nuclear-power-10billion-financial-guarantee http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/newsdesk/energy/analysis/who-actually-taking-risk-new-uk-nuclear 21 oct 2013 http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/other_comments/2134515/behind_the_nuclear_smoke_and_mirrors.html 26 oct 2013
Also see: http://stophinkley.org/StopPress.htm
The UK’S EDF is 100% French EDF owned. French EDF is owned by 1. French State 84,48% 2. Institutional: 13,10% 3. workers: 2,39% 4. Itself: 0,03% http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Électricité_de_France
French AREVA is over 90% state-owned: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Areva
The state-owned sovereign wealth fund,the Kuwait Investment Authority, already owns 4.8% of AREVA. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/business/energy/2013/10/23/Gulf-funds-may-take-stake-in-EDF-s-UK-nuclear-project-paper.html