boss refuses to set date for Hinkley Point C decision or start-up
firm EDF has this week refused to say when it expects to decide
on the much-delayed Hinkley Point C project, or whether the nuclear
plant is still on track to generate first power in 2025 as planned.
before MPs on the Energy Select Committee on Tuesday (May 24th),
Vincent de Rivaz, Chief Executive of the UK division of EDF Energy,
insisted that the company was doing everything it could for Hinkley
"to be ready when the UK needs it" but he refused to
give a precise timetable.
said a decision on the £18bn plant near Burnham-On-Sea should
be "very rapid" following a consultation with French
unions, which began on May 2nd, but suggested that consultation
could be extended beyond the expected 60 days.
Macron, France's economy minister, had previously suggested a
decision could be taken in September.
de Rivaz said the unions had called for the huge project to be
delayed for two to three years due to concerns that EDF could
not afford it, but that the consultation was purely advisory and
EDF's board, which would take the final decision, did not want
must absolutely not delay it," he told the committee, insisting
that the money is now in place to build the plant. "We cannot
afford to keep the UK waiting."
whether the project is still on schedule to generate its first
power in 2025, Mr de Rivaz said EDF understood "the need
for this to be the case" and it was "the date we would
like to be able to confirm but that it would only set a
date when it took the final investment decision.
added that the project is "not on hold", with work continuing
at the Hinkley site.
said that the French authorities remain "fully behind"
the project but understood that "a certain amount of impatience
may be creeping in as the project is key for the UK's energy and
have every confidence that a final investment decision can be
made rapidly after the end of the consultation," he said.
Leadsom, the energy minister, told the committee that the decision
date was a commercial matter for EDF.