No nukes for UK, says... Austria

03 September 2018 - 14:01 By Reuters
Nuclear reactors A (left) and B at Hinkley Point nuclear power station near Cannington in southwest England on January 17 2018.
Nuclear reactors A (left) and B at Hinkley Point nuclear power station near Cannington in southwest England on January 17 2018.
Image: Reuters/Toby Melville

Austria plans to appeal against a ruling by Europe's second-highest court which rejected its objections to Britain's plans for a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, the country's sustainability minister said on Monday.

"Our lawyers have examined this in detail in the past weeks. We believe the chances of an appeal remain intact," minister Elisabeth Koestinger said in a newspaper interview.

The ministry said it expects Austria's cabinet to formally give the go-ahead for an appeal when it meets on Wednesday.

French utility EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corp aim to have the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station on line in 2025 with costs for the project seen at £19.6bn (R374bn).

The European Commission cleared the project in 2014, saying it did not see any competition issues. But Austria took its objections to the General Court in Luxembourg, which dismissed them in July.

One aspect Vienna objects to is a guaranteed price for electricity from the plant which is higher than market rates. It also opposes state credit guarantees of up to £17bn (R324bn) being provided for the project.

Austria can appeal to the European Court of Justice but only on matters of law.

Opposition to nuclear power is widespread in Austria, which built a nuclear reactor but never brought it on line.

Voters rejected plans to bring it into operation in a referendum in 1978 and the reactor, at Zwentendorf on the Danube northwest of Vienna, now serves as a training centre.

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