3 weeks before Brexit our Local Enterprise Partnership wakes up!

“A No Deal scenario, without a comprehensive and cross-Government mitigation plan in place, could create conditions that have not been seen in our rural communities since Foot and Mouth.

A letter from the Heart of the South West Joint Committee and the Heart of the South West LEP, sent to Michael Gove, the No Deal Brexit minister, says that without comprehensive mitigation in place, a No Deal Brexit could result in significant business closures and a fundamental impact on Devon and Somerset.

The Heart of the South West Joint Committee and the Heart of the South West LEP are a partnership of sixteen local authorities, two national parks, two CCGs and the LEP and represent 1.7m people and 80,000 businesses across Devon and Somerset.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/no-deal-brexit-as-bad-3393648

“Hinkley Point builder (EDF) accused by France of ‘unacceptable’ failings”

“President Macron’s economy minister has accused the French state-owned company building Britain’s new nuclear plant of “unacceptable” failings as he threatened sweeping change at the group.

Bruno Le Maire said yesterday that the French nuclear sector was like “a state within a state” and he denounced cost overruns and delays in the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor in Somerset and similar projects in Flamanville in Normandy and Olkiluoto in Finland. “We will not accept this drift month after month, year after year,” Mr Le Maire said.

His words appeared to weaken the position of Jean-Bernard Lévy, 64, who was given a second four-year term as chief executive of EDF by Mr Macron in February.

Mr Le Maire said that he had ordered an independent audit into the French nuclear industry, which provides about 75 per cent of nation’s electricity, and into the decision to build a new generation of the increasingly questioned European pressurised reactors in Britain, France, Finland and China. The conclusions will be delivered on October 31, he said.

The audit will interest Whitehall, given that the EPRs being built in Somerset are supposed to supply 7 per cent of Britain’s electricity. EDF said last week that Hinkley Point C would cost £3 billion more than expected and may not meet its latest launch date of 2025, which is already eight years late.

The glitches at Hinkley Point C come after setbacks at Flamanville, which initially was due to come on stream in 2012 at a cost of €3.3 billion, but which will not now be linked to the grid until 2022 at the earliest at a cost of at least $10.9 billion. The Finnish plant was scheduled to be operational in 2009, but is still not complete.

Noting the lastest delays at Flamanville, Mr Le Maire said: “Now we learn that the costs of the nuclear reactor in Britain have drifted. All this drifting is unacceptable.”

The French state owns 83.7 per cent of EDF. Mr Macron wants to split the group in two, placing its nuclear activities in a wholly state-owned unit and floating the rest.”

Source: Times (pay wall)

“EDF warns Hinkley nuclear plant could cost extra £2.9 billion, see more delays”

Note to our Local Enterprise Partnership:
1. Don’t whatever you do go for a day at the races and bet any money – your track record advises against it.
2. You have (and always have had) developers on your Board. Surely one of you could have tipped off EDF about “challenging ground conditions”!

“The British project cost hike also comes just days after the country saw an auction for offshore wind projects clear at a record low, raising questions of the cost competitiveness of new nuclear.

EDF said Hinkley Point C was estimated to cost 21.5-22.5 billion pounds ($26.8-$28 billion), up 1.9-2.9 billion pounds from its latest estimate. …

Crooks said the cost increase was related to challenging ground conditions at the site. …”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-nuclear-hinkley-edf/edf-warns-hinkley-nuclear-plant-could-cost-extra-2-9-billion-see-more-delays-idUKKBN1WA0K1?

Should our Local Enterprise Partnership have all our eggs in the Hinkley C broken basket!

This writer in The Times thinks not! Is our LEP fit for purpose if it goes along with EDF with no scrutiny?

“EDF, the French electricity company, has insisted that its nuclear reactors are safe, despite admitting that six contained components that fail to meet industry standards.

EDF, which is leading the project to build Britain’s new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, also conceded that sub-standard parts had been found in a new-generation reactor under construction in Normandy.

The reactor, at Flamanville, which is of the same kind as those planned for Hinkley Point, has been beset by flaws and cost-overruns and will not open until 2022 at the earliest, a decade behind its initial schedule. EDF declined to say whether the latest problem would delay the launch still further.

The company revealed last week that some welds on steam generators made in a factory in Saint-Marcel in central France had been found to suffer from a “a deviation from technical standards governing the manufacture of nuclear-reactor components”. In a statement yesterday, it said that sixteen of the affected generators had been installed in six reactors — two at Blayais near Bordeaux and in others at Dampierre-en-Burly and Bugey in central France, Fessenheim in eastern France and Paluel in the north of the country.

Régis Clement, deputy head of EDF’s nuclear fleet, said: “None of this parts present a risk in terms . . . of the safety of the reactors. We are confident,” he said. EDF said in a statement that “no immediate action” was necessary, although the final decision on whether to shut down reactors for repairs lies with the Nuclear Safety Authority. The watchdog has a track record of demanding repairs that EDF deems unnecessary.

EDF added that sub-standard welds also had been found on four of the steam generators installed in the reactor in Flamanville, along with three steam generators earmarked for a new plant at Gravelines, near Dunkirk. All the steam generators were made in the Saint-Marcel factory, which is owned by Framatome, controlled by EDF.

This is not the first time that welds at Flamanville have been called into question. This summer, the watchdog ordered EDF to mend eight separate welds found to have faults before the plant could come into service.”

Source: Times (pay wall)

“EDF feels heat from nuclear weld problems”

Hinkley C nuclear plant is where the vast majority og our regional funds have been placed by our Local Enterprise Partnership – many of whose board members have a direct or indirect financial interest in the project.

“The French state electricity group building Britain’s new nuclear plant suffered another setback yesterday when it admitted to possible faults with components used in reactors in France.

The disclosure alarmed investors, raised a new question mark over the French nuclear industry and will fuel speculation that slipshod practices have gained hold in a sector that supplies about three quarters of the country’s electricity.

EDF said that a factory that made steam generators used in nuclear reactors had failed to follow standard procedures. The problem was with the welds on the generators, it said.

The factory is in Saint-Marcel, central France, and is owned by Framatome, a French nuclear group in which EDF has a majority stake. The plant supplies heavy equipment for the French nuclear industry and has provided components for 106 reactors worldwide.

EDF said that Framatome had informed it of “a deviation from technical standards governing the manufacture of nuclear reactor components”. It said that the problem concerned components already installed in reactors, as well as those being prepared for future use. A spokesman for the French Nuclear Safety Authority said that about 20 functioning reactors built after 2008 were believed to be affected.

“EDF, along with Framatome, has been conducting in-depth investigations to identify all affected components and reactors, as well as to ascertain their fitness for service,” EDF said.

The setback comes after a factory in nearby Le Creusot, which belonged to Areva and is now part of Framatome, admitted to having failed to follow safety test procedures during the manufacture of nuclear components. The Nuclear Safety Authority said that test results appeared to have been falsified and added that it had alerted prosecutors to possible fraud.

The latest scandal could hardly have come at a worse time for EDF, which said this summer that the launch of its new-generation nuclear reactor had suffered a further delay. The reactor in Flamanville, Normandy, will now come on stream in 2022, a decade after it was meant to be operating.

EDF is leading the project to build two similar reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset at a cost of £19.6 billion. They are due to come on stream in 2025.

With difficulties mounting for EDF, its share price fell sharply on the Paris stock market, and closed down 74 cents, or 6.8 per cent, at €10.12.”

Source: Times (paywall)

Confused (dot) LEP?

Comment added also as post by Owl – who is also confused.

“It’s all very confusing (especially sorting out your NUTS 1,2&3).

The joint covering letter from the two LEPs (one of which appears to have its own joint committee just to confuse things further) says:

“We have put forward two submissions; one on behalf of Cornwall Council and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and another on behalf of the Heart of the South West Joint Committee and the HotSW Local Enterprise Partnership representing Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.”

They also go on to say:

“We are submitting this joint letter as being neighbouring areas we have similar policy asks which the committee might find helpful to have highlighted as well as the nuances that are described in our two responses. There is no clear definition of what constitutes a region and we believe these two documents provide detailed insight into the complexity of this subject.”

So Cornwall (and the Scilly Isles) gets the joint forward plus a detailed response under the heading:

“Written evidence submitted by Cornwall Council and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, 2nd August 2019″ [4,342 words and four graphs – a lot of nuance and explanation of complexity particular to Cornwall in here. Good for them.]

The Heart of the South West joint letter is followed by…………….NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Couldn’t be bothered or just forgot to add it? Sadly, either way, the people of Devon and Somerset have lost out.”

East Devon Alliance only group submitting evidence to Parliament on Devon’s regional growth – our LEP just added its name to Cornwall’s evidence – for Cornwall and Plymouth!

East Devon Alliance submitted evidence to Treasury inquiry into regional growth: this wax pertinent, spwell-reasoned evidence. It was the ONLY submission solely on behalf of Devon:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/09/05/parliament-publishes-evidence-from-east-devon-alliance-on-unrealistic-growth-figures-and-flaws-compounded-by-our-local-enterprise-partnership/

Cornwall and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly evidence (to which our Devon and Somerset LEP added its name only to a generic one-page “Joint Statement” covering letter) was skewed (as it should be) ONLY towards Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and Plymouth – concentrating on them being in the same EU region (NUTS2), and therefore not concerning itself with any other part of Devon:

http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/treasury-committee/regional-imbalances-in-the-uk/written/104187.html

Our LEP simply duplicated the generic one-page covering letter in the above Cornwall submission as its only contribution for itself:

http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/treasury-committee/regional-imbalances-in-the-uk/written/104182.html