Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant: EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivaz assures MPs that the project will go ahead

Jessica Morris
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Vincent de Rivaz appeared before MPs today (Source: Getty)

EDF assured MPs that the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project will go ahead, but failed to give an exact date for the final investment decision.

Appearing before the energy and climate change select committee, EDF Energy's chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said: "Clearly and categorically, Hinkley Point C will go ahead."

He added that the French utility giant has already invested £2.4bn into the nuclear site in Somerset.

De Rivaz also reiterated comments made yesterday by French economy minister Emmanuel Macron, who said the widely anticipated final investment decision will be made in early May.

But he refused to commit to a definitive schedule, saying that the company was awaiting a bailout by the French government, which owns 85 per cent of EDF.

Last week, the French government said that it would provide financial backing necessary for EDF to go ahead with Hinkley.

Critics have raised concern over whether EDF's already stretched balance sheet will be able to shoulder the £18bn project.

Meanwhile, energy experts also told MPs most people involved would benefit if the French government decides to bin the project or renegotiate the deal.

"If it can be cancelled or renegotiated without jeopardising the rest of the nuclear programme in my view that would be in the public interest," Simon Taylor, a finance professor at the University of Cambridge, said.

Peter Atherton, an analyst at Jefferies investment bank, added that a successful project will be huge boon to EDF.

"They’ve got a great, great deal, if they can build it on time and on budget.....Once it’s operational, that power station is going to be gold," he said.

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