Is Brexit The Nuclear Option?

This post first appeared on my LinkedIn Page.

Artist Impression of Hinkley Point C: EDF Energy/PA
Artist Impression of Hinkley Point C: EDF Energy/PA

The UK is full of talk of Brexit and what it might mean for the Country if the public vote to leave the EU at the referendum vote on June 23rd. There are many statistics and arguments being given on both sides. One of the other pieces of news that I’ve been following is Hinkley Point C.

The new nuclear power station that is a combination of British government, the Chinese, the energy company EDF, and the French government. The will it / won’t it tug-of-war as to whether the project will go ahead, seems to change weekly and even daily. The latest news is that EDF are delaying their decision (once again) until the summer, and that’s less than a week after the French economy minister Emmanuel Macron said that the project was going to proceed. Understandably, State Aid has reared its head, and that needs to be resolved.

But what if the UK votes to leave the EU on June 23rd, what of Hinkley Point then? Francois Hollande has already said that if the UK leaves the EU:

“There will be consequences in many areas: on the single market, on financial trade, on economic development between our two countries.”

This was connected to a speech in relation to immigration, but it’s obvious that there could be wider implications, including Hinkley Point C. EDF are clear that they can’t proceed with the project without state intervention, and have alreadylost one finance director. Would the French government continue to back the project and EDF?

It seems that in addition to all of the other issues surrounding Brexit, Hinkley Point C might also hinge on that public referendum.

Lets say that we do vote to leave the EU, there is no Hinkley Point C (an early French government announcement wouldn’t perhaps be a surprise), what are the ripples that might cause? Well if Vote Leave prevails it seems likely that David Cameron will also, and Hinkley Point has been heavily supported by George Osborne, so I don’t fancy his leadership chances, which leaves Boris or A.N.Other.

Whichever way the vote goes, it’s going to be an interesting few months ahead.


[For reference, I’m undecided at the moment as to whether we should stay or go, but I will be voting when the time comes].

The contents of this post are the views of the author alone, and do not represent those of any employer or client that the author is working for, either now or historically.

2 thoughts on “Is Brexit The Nuclear Option?

  1. I wouldn’t let a proposed nuclear power plant stop me from wanting to leave the EU and flipping the World Bank the “two-finger salute”. Out here, on the homestead, we’ve basically done the same thing to our own federal government.

    1. I agree David. I don’t actually think we need Hinkley Point C, as there are far better options with renewables, but we have a government that doesn’t believe in them, only subsidising nuclear, oil, coal and shale gas.

      Although I’m on the fence regarding the EU, it would be interesting to see what played out after a “leave” vote, both for this an a variety of other policies. Interesting times.

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