February 12, 2015
EDF says investment decision on Hinkley Point has been delayed

Energy group EDF has delayed an investment decision on its £16bn project to build two nuclear energy reactors in Hinkley Point, near Burnham-On-Sea.

Despite assurances earlier this week that the decision would be made in March, the firm's chief executive said on Thursday (February 12th) that the negotiations could take "a considerable amount of time".

Chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy said talks between EDF's partners, French nuclear group Areva and the UK government were continuing.

"We are in the final phase of negotiations, but that phase can take a considerable amount of time, depending on the number of problems left to resolve. There is no other project on the agenda," he said.

Plans to build two reactors at Hinkley Point are also currently facing a potential legal challenge from Austria, which opposes nuclear energy and has questioned the subsidy deal between the UK and EDF. The challenge threatens to stall the investment plans.

The Times reported last weekend that the nuclear scheme’s Chinese backers have demanded that the French government protect them if the project goes bust. The two Chinese companies involved are also reported to be concerned about Hinkley Point’s European Pressurised water Reactor (EPR) design.

The newspaper also reported that EDF Energy is seeking assurances from the Government that if Austria wins its legal action against the proposed subsidies and the project has to be abandoned halfway through, the company will receive compensation for the money invested up to that point.

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