Hinkley Point nuclear plant could face further delays

The Hinkley Point nuclear power plant could face further delays as EDF has reportedly postponed its final decision on whether to invest.

An EDF board meeting scheduled for 27 January, in which board members were expected to finalise the decision on whether to invest in the plant, has now been postponed. French paper Les Echos has reported that the delay is due to funding difficulties for the company, although EDF is yet to comment.

Hinkley Point is set to be the UK’s first new nuclear plant in a generation and EDF has already invested £2 billion into the project, as well as signing a deal with China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) to invest £18 billion in exchange for a 33.5 per cent stake.

However, the BBC’s John Moylan reports that EDF is currently facing major financial challenges, with share prices falling by 50 per cent over the past year and current projects in Finland and at Flammenville running over budget and facing delays.

Les Echos has reported that the French firm is struggling to find the cash to cover its 66.5 per cent stake in the plant, and is now putting pressure on the French state, which is a 84.5 per cent shareholder in EDF, to come up with the funds.

The Hinkley Point plant has faced criticism for increasing costs and large delays, as it was first scheduled to start operation in 2017, which has now been pushed back to 2025.

Commenting on the reports, John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace, said: "The EDF board is clearly rattled as they delay yet again this crucial investment decision. It could well signal curtains for Hinkley. EDF managers as well as employee representatives on the board are deeply concerned this project is too risky and too expensive.”

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