Britain’s first nuclear reactor for a generation is facing fresh delays as French energy giant EDF struggles to find financing for the £18bn project.
French paper Lec Echos reported that the final investment decision on Hinkley Point will not take place today, as was widely expected, and that EDF is seeking extra support from the French government.
It said the earliest a final investment decision will be made is at the next board meeting, to be held before the firm releases full-year earnings on 16 February.
EDF's employee shareholders have warned Hinkley Point C puts the very survival of the company at risk, and credit rating agency Standard & Poor's has said it might downgrade EDF's debt if it goes ahead with the project.
EDF has a majority stake of 66.5 per cent in Hinkley Point, while China’s state nuclear firm CGN has a 33.5 per cent stake. EDF previously said it intends to bring other investors into the project in due course, but without reducing its stake below 50 per cent.
CGN's involvement was agreed during Chinese president Xi Jinping's visit to the UK in October. China signed a string of deals to help the UK upgrade its ageing energy infrastructure.
Britain needs to replace about 20 per cent of its nuclear and coal power plants during the next 10 years, and Hinkley Point power station will help it achieve this.