IT is clear that Stop Hinkley Campaigners are not the only ones calling on EDF Energy to abandon Hinkley Point C. We are calling on EDF to scrap these plans as soon as possible so that communities in Somerset can get on with planning a sustainable energy future. The Government should stop taking UK energy policy down this nuclear cul-de-sac and get on with implementing a sensible renewable energy strategy.

We have written to EDF we have asked them as the managers’ union CFE-CGC, which has a seat on EDF’s board, has voiced its concern about the significant financial issues raised by investing in Hinkley Point C and says such a huge commitment could put the very future of EDF as a

company in danger. The Association of Employee Shareholders (EAS) - has asked for the project to be halted.

We understand that EDF’s financial problems include:

? Debts of €37 billion (£28 billion) and its share price has fallen from €29 in April 2014 to €10.32 last week. Financing a massive project like Hinkley Point C will clearly place a significant strain on finances. The union notes that the debt related to Hinkley Point C will need to be 100% fully consolidated into the EDF accounts – an amount which exceeds the market capitalization of the Group.

? EDF is now facing a €100m bill for upgrading its nuclear power stations in France according to a report by French Government auditor – the Cour des Comptes – rather than €55bn previously estimated.

? EDF has also agreed to buy between 51 and 75% of the struggling French reactor builder Areva NP which is valued at €2.7bn. So will have to find at least €1.4bn for that.

? The French waste agency Andra has estimated that the cost of its deep geological disposal project could be as high as €30bn rather than the €20bn estimated by EDF. French energy minister Ségolène Royal has signed a decree setting the ‘reference cost’ at €25 billion – still a jump of €5bn for EDF.

? The unions also mention the need for EDF to invest in renewable energy across the globe. In France the Parliament passed a law last year to reduce the share of electricity provided by nuclear power from 75% to 50%. The Cour des Comptes says this could lead to the closure of 17 to 20 reactors.

The union has also highlighted the construction problems at reactors similar to the Hinkley design at Flamanville in Normandy and Olkiluoto in Finland. Flamanville is currently 6 years late and around €7.2bn over budget. Olkiluoto is expected to be 10 years behind schedule and €5.5bn over budget. On top of all this the French nuclear regulator ASN now says it won’t decide until the end of this year what to do about weak spots in steel of the pressure vessel at Flamanville. If ASN decides that Areva needs to replace the reactor vessel or lid because of the weak spots, the Flamanville project could face significant further delays and cost overruns.

The Union wants to know how EDF can assume a 9-year construction time for Hinkley Point C when 10-15 years has been the norm so far, and why the company is considering embarking on the construction of two more EPR reactors when none have yet been completed anywhere in the world.

Like the unions we at Stop Hinkley believe the EDF Board would be foolhardy to commit to building two EPRs at Hinkley Point C when the Company is in such a precarious position. It is not difficult to see why EDF’s employee shareholders fear that the project could sink the

company altogether. The Company is in no fit state to finance such a massive new project. But as people who live in the vicinity of the proposed Hinkley Point C, our main concern is not the future of EDF as a Company. Our concern is about the future of our community.

We find it very hard to believe that this project will ever come to fruition. We have lived with the threat of Hinkley Point C (in this incarnation), and all the disruptions that that entails, for a decade now, and yet all we

have got to show for it is a big hole in the ground.

Roy Pumfrey, Cannington