Further delays for Hinkley Point C

Materials World magazine
,
1 Sep 2016

Hinkley Point C, which is set to be the UK’s first nuclear power station since Sizewell B opened in 1995, faces fresh doubt about its prospects, with another review of the project imminent. A decision is to be announced in the early autumn. 

The project was heavily backed during David Cameron’s time as Prime Minister, but Theresa May’s Government is now understood to have agreed on an alternative timetable with the French Government. The project has received financial backing from EDF and China General Nuclear (CGN), with the EDF announcement expected to boost confidence in the economy post-Brexit. Labour’s energy spokesperson told The Guardian that the deal was in ‘absolute chaos’.

The construction of the power station is hoped to create 25,000 jobs and provide 7% of Britain’s electricity with its two nuclear reactors. The National Audit Office has warned the project could eventually cost British taxpayers around £30bln in subsidies to EDF and CGN, and is a point of friction, highlighted by the resignation of an EDF director, Gérard Magnin, in opposition to the project.  

After a decade of delays, concerns about cost and safety continue to be voiced and block the start of construction. The National Audit Office has said that renewable sources would be cheaper because of the need to dispose of spent fuel, with a base price of  £92.50 per megawatt-hour also adding to the overall cost. However, EDF says that Point C is a unique asset to both French and British industry.