In a surprise move, the UK govt has put the brakes on the Hinkley Point nuclear power contract. Yesterday, there was anticipation in the media that the directorate of EDF would approve the scheme. In the event, the vote was 10 to 7 in favour, though one director resigned beforehand.
Maybe the depth of the split on the EDF board has given the new UK government the jitters. In a brief two line statement this morning, the business secretary, Greg Clark, said the government would now examine all components of the deal and decide in the Autumn whether to go ahead, or not.
A major issue is cost. The deal hinges around a very high price to be paid for the electricity to be produced at Hinkley Point, equivalent to the cost of offshore wind power. The government may be considering lower priced alternatives, such as U.K. shalegas or LNG imported from the U.S.
Either way, this decision to delay a decision is last minute. Media observers say marquees were being set up at Hinkley Point in expectation of a signing party today. The Chinese delegation is now heading home.