18 Apr (NucNet): France will go ahead with construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in the UK and will begin agreeing technical details in the coming weeks, the French economy minister has said.
Emmanuel Macron told the BBC yesterday: “We back the Hinkley Point project, it’s very important for France, it’s very important for the nuclear sector and [France’s state-owned utility company] EDF.
“Now we have to finalise the work, and especially the technical and industrial work, very closely with EDF, with the British government, to be in a situation to sign in the coming week or month.”
Pressed on whether he thought the deal would go ahead, Mr Macron added: “That’s my view, and that’s our perspective, because I think it’s very important for our commitment to nuclear energy.”
The project to build two EPR units in southwest England was announced in October 2013, but a final investment decision has been delayed as EDF tries to find partners and financing. Chinese utility CGN signed up for a one-third stake last October, leaving EDF to find funding for the rest.
EDF said last month it did not foresee any delays to the construction of Hinkley Point C. The company said the project’s planned commissioning date remains set for the end of 2025 despite “rumours and unrealistic information” in the media about possible delays.
EDF also said its board of directors would take a final investment decision on the project based on the collection of “detailed and comprehensive” information.
First concrete for the project is scheduled for 2019, according to earlier statements by Jean-Bernard Lévy, chairman and chief executive of EDF.
Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive officer of EDF’s UK subsidiary EDF Energy, told a conference in London last week that “categorically Hinkley Point C will go ahead and will go ahead very soon”. He said EDF is in constructive talks with the UK government on electricity market reforms.