Energy giant EDF could still be “months” away from a decision to press ahead with the £16bn construction of Hinkley Point C, it has emerged.
The firm said yesterday that a final investment decision on the Somerset new nuclear scheme would be possible “in the next few months”.
Hinkley Point C – which would be the first nuclear new build project in the UK this century – looked to be almost over the line last autumn. The European Commission in October approved a package of measures to allow the UK government to subsidise the electricity produced at the plant, and guarantee some of the debt raised to finance its construction.
Contractors were then expecting the final green light on the scheme before the end of 2014. It is now understood a formal announcement is unlikely before May’s general election.
EDF said in a statement alongside its 2014 results yesterday: “EDF and the UK government are working hard to finalise all agreements on Hinkley Point C, and are making significant progress in all areas with the shared objective of finalising documents in the coming weeks.
“This will allow a final investment decision to be possible in the next few months. EDF is also making progress in discussions with future investment partners in the project. In particular, progress is being made with Chinese partners on all aspects of their nuclear industrial co-operation in the UK, which is part of the wider partnership between EDF and Chinese companies.”
A Bouygues/Laing O’Rourke joint venture has been named preferred bidder for the £2bn main civils package at Hinkley Point C, while Costain is preferred bidder for the £250M marine pipeline work.
A Kier/Bam Nuttall JV secured the earthworks deal, which includes excavation of the massive basement in which the nuclear island will sit.
EDF has previously estimated that more than half of the project’s construction cost could be spent in the UK, and that the project could create 25,000 jobs.