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'Hinkley deal saved PM political embarrassment'

Greenpeace's John Sauven says that the Hinkley deal was made to save the PM political embarrassment. Credit: Reuters

Greenpeace has slammed the government's go ahead of Hinkley Point claiming it saved the PM "political embarrassment".

Greenpeace's executive director, John Sauven, said there are "huge outstanding, financial, legal and technical obstacles that can't be brushed under the carpet."

He said the new conditions on the deal "changes almost nothing" and he warned that there might be months or even years of wrangling over issues.

Today's decision hasn't been made on the cold, hard facts that show Hinkley will not deliver competitively priced, low carbon energy any time soon. Instead it seems that Hinkley became too big to fail. The potential for political embarrassment for the new Prime Minister was too high.

– Executive Director for Greenpeace, John Sauven

He added that the government should support renewable power that to provide energy at a competitive price.

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EDF says it's still backing Hinkley C

Hinkley C will be built in the shadow of Hinkley B - if it gets the financial go-ahead Credit: PA

French energy company EDF has repeated its support for the new nuclear power station at Hinkley, even though a final investment decision for the £18 billion plant is still to be made.

French unions had expressed their concerns over the impact of the project.

EDF relies on sensitivity studies already communicated to staff representatives and considers this vote does not change the fundamentals of the project, nor the desire of players to engage in it.

– EDF statement

The director of Greenpeace comments that, in the wake of Brexit, it would be foolish to pursue the deal. He says the Government should be thinking in terms of renewable energy as a Plan B.

In the UK, Brexit is throwing up endless questions that no one knows the answers to over the future of the European energy market. It would be idiocy of the highest magnitude for the UK government in its current incarnation to sign this disastrous deal.

– John Sauven, director of Greenpeace

Hinkley C "to go ahead" despite Brexit

The boss of EDF has said that Brexit has “no impact” on the business and strategy of the company in the UK, including its plans to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point.

Computer image of proposed Hinkley C Credit: EDF

"As of today, we believe that this vote has no impact on our strategy, and the strategy (...) for our UK subsidiary has not changed. Our business strategy is not linked to Great Britain’s political affiliation with the European Union, so we have no reason to change it."

– Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF Chairman

Mr Levy emphasised in particular that there should be no fears of reconsidering plans to construct two EPR nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point , a gigantic £18 billion project (around 22 billion euros at current exchange rates), which is being challenged by the Group’s French trade unions and for which a final investment decision is pending.

“I would just point out that in the last few days, spokespeople on energy issues for the Brexit camp – notably Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom – have on numerous occasions and again in recent days come out in favour of maintaining the decarbonisation policy, of maintaining the nuclear option, and of maintaining the Hinkley Point project. Therefore there are no consequences from this vote today."

– Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF Chairman
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