The seemingly endless saga of the UK’s attempts to get a new nuclear plant rumbles on ad infinitum, as PEI reports. This news comes as UK coal plants are closing at an ever-faster rate.
There are fears that final approval for the Hinkley Point C project in south western England may be delayed for another year, as the company’s board frets about seeking new investors for the project. The Financial Times reports that the company is concerned about being exposed if it doesn’t secure additional backing.
The nuclear power plant, originally set for a 2017 opening, has since been put back to 2025, but analysts now say the latest issue could push that date back even further. EDF has said repeatedly that final investment decision (FID) approval for the plant in Somerset, in the west of England, is “imminent”. Jean-Bernard Lévy, chief executive, said last week the decision was “very close”.
French rules dictate that the company must consolidate the debt for Hinkley if it owns more than 50 per cent of the scheme. Under a deal struck with CGN, the Chinese state-owned nuclear company, EDF owns 66.5 per cent of the project but it wants to offload a portion to avoid taking on the extra debt. While Mr Lévy has said that he hopes to bring in other investors after taking the final investment decision, others on the board say it should do so as a prerequisite, a process likely to last into 2017.