EDF has said it intends to "proceed rapidly" with the final investment decision for the £18bn construction of Hinkley Point C, paving the way for the "definitive construction" of the nuclear power plant to start in 2019.
The French energy giant's chief executive, Jean-Bernard Levy, told reporters while it's yet to complete talks with its Chinese partners before the Chinese New Year break, the final decision is "very close".
He added that it would take about three years, possibly a bit more, of study and work with sub-contractors before EDF will begin building the first definitive structures on the Hinkley Point C site, though the company will do terracing and other preparatory work between now and then.
"Definitive construction of what will be built on the site, what we call the first concrete, is on the horizon for 2019," Levy said.
EDF has kicked back the can for its final investment decision, which was widely expected to be taken earlier this year. Reports suggest it's struggling to find funding for the project, the cost of which currently dwarfs its €21.8bn (£17bn) market cap.