The long-awaited final investment decision on Hinkley Point C now looks at least two months away – with some reports suggesting it could come as late as September.
Project promoter EDF Energy said after a board meeting on Friday that it would consult with unions in France over plans for the £18bn Somerset project.
This will take 60 days, so the earliest a final investment decision now looks possible is late June. However French newspaper Journal du Dimanche quoted French economic minister Emmanual Macron as saying the decision would be taken in September.
The go-ahead for Hinkley Point C was initially expected back in 2014, and contractors have had their hopes raised several times since then. EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivaz last month told MPs it was a “very reasonable assumption” that the investment decision would be taken in May.
EDF said in a statement on Friday: “Confirmation of the significant recapitalisation of EDF agreed by the board makes it possible for EDF to proceed with its strategic investment programme – including Hinkley Point C.
“The board has decided to undertake a formal, non-binding consultation process with the Comité Central d’Entreprise (CCE). This is well understood statutory process of 60 days and the company will work with the CCE to define the detailed steps to reach a conclusion this summer.”
Macron was quoted in the Journal du Dimanche as saying that after ensuring EDF’s financial future and carrying out employee consultations, operational control measures had to be taken
“The president confirmed the commitment of France,” he added. “The final investment decision will be confirmed in September.”
Civil Engineering Contractors Association chief executive Alasdair Reisner earlier this year described the wait for the decision to build the Somerset nuclear plant as “extremely disappointing”.