Hello, My name is Reg Illingworth and I am from Oldbury in South Gloucestershire in England and I represent a community whose opinions have been largely ignored since E.on commenced buying land off the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) in 2008.
Our community had distinct relief for both the shareholders of E.on and the residents of South Gloucestershire when we heard that E.on and RWE had finally realised that the economics of the construction of a new nuclear power station at Oldbury was not viable.
I am here to thank the Boards for making the decision to sell their interest in Horizon and to ask who they intend to sell their interest to?
Rosatom , to our knowledge, are the only confirmed interested party at this stage and their intention would be to build the 1200-Mwe ‘NPP 2006’ in the UK.
They would be the supplier of the reactors but would not be the credible nuclear power operator (CNPO) as detailed in the 2008 government White Paper on Nuclear Power.
Given the already prolonged Generic Design Assessment (GDA) procedure of new reactors by the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) it is doubtful whether this reactor would get approval within another three years.
To date neither the Areva EPR or the Westinghouse AP1000 have full approval from the ONR even after this length of time.
According to the 2008 White Paper there must also be a credible nuclear power operator such as E.on, RWE or EDf to operate the plant once Horizon has developed the site.
Who will this be? Will any purchaser , if any , be regarded as credible by the Department of Energy and Climate Change?
The Rosatom subsidiary, Rosenergoatom , is an operator of nuclear power stations in Russia but unlike RWE and E.on they would not be considered to be credible in the UK without much analysis and deliberation which will take time.
If we look at two other important players in the UK nuclear market:-
Centrica, who have recently said that they are questioning their involvement with Edf in the joint venture they have to build new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point and at Sizewell. They now regard the project as too risky for the significant capital investment they would have to make, similar to E.on and RWE.
Edf themselves will be under severe pressure to reign in their nuclear ambitions if Hollande should win the presidential election later this week, with no subsidy evident from the UK government and the French government loath to extend any more money to developing new nuclear.
So within a few weeks the value of Horizons development sites could be very low indeed, maybe we could almost call it a fire sale!
And sadly, you , the shareholders of E.on will suffer.
Given that the site at Oldbury has to be deployed by 2025 and that Horizon has previously stated that the first reactor would be deployed in 2025 any additional time lags, such as approval of a new reactor, would make the site non-deployable well after 2025.
This would therefore mean that the site does not comply with the stated aims of the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the UK (DECC) and the site would have no value as a development site for new nuclear.
Having said all of this there is an upside for Horizon , RWE and E.on in that the Oldbury site lies on the banks of the River Severn which has the second highest tidal range of any river in the world.
Can Horizon be converted from a nuclear power development company to a tidal power development company ?
Maybe the joint venture could exploit this asset and take forward the immense power that the UK has around the full perimeter of its shores.
We, as the communities around the site, would relish the opportunity to become completely involved in transferring Horizons nuclear intentions for the development into a renewable business bedrock for generations to come.
Given the current value of the site is diminishing would E.on and RWE consider a joint venture with our community and energy co-operatives in Bristol to take this forward and lay the foundations for New Energy Co-operation in the 21st Century .
So, are you considering non-nuclear alternatives for the Oldbury site?
Are you willing to discuss options for the sale of the site with our local community representatives?
Thank you for your time and I wish the E.on shareholders and board success in changing course to a business model that respects local communities and environmental necessities.