Hinkley Point C: Senior representatives from EDF called by MPs to explain delay to investment decision

 
James Nickerson
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Debate Continues into Future of UK Energy Generation
MacNeil said there could be huge implications for the UK's energy security if Hinkley doesn't go ahead (Source: Getty)

Senior representatives from EDF have been called by MPs to explain why there has been a delay in making an investment decision on a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C.

On Sunday it came to light that EDF had delayed its final investment decision on the building of a new £18bn power plant until September, four months after it was due to give its verdict on the project.

In response, MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee have called for answers from bosses at the energy company, which is part-owned by the French state.

Read more: EDF's Hinkley could be threatened by EU competition law

"When EDF appeared before us in March, company bosses were insisting that a decision would be made in May. At that hearing we said that we would call them back in if that timetable slipped again and that’s what we are doing now," Angus MacNeil, chair of the committee said.

"If Hinkley does not go ahead it could have huge implications for our future energy security and efforts to cut climate-changing emissions. We will therefore be watching progress on this closely. If we have to see EDF back here in September as well, we will."

The news comes after the committee took evidence from EDF in March regarding the status of the plans to build two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point.

Read more: France still committed to "very important" Hinkley Point, says Emmanuel Macron

At the time, Vincent De Rivaz, EDF's chief executive, said the final investment decision would be taken "very soon".

On Sunday it was reported that France's economy minister Emmanuel Macron had said that three conditions had to be in place before the part state-owned energy company could go ahead with the building of two new reactors at the Somerset site.

Macron said it would first need to ensure EDF's financial trajectory – which he said it did on Friday with the announcement of €4bn (£3bn) capital raising. It will also need to consult with the unions and also take certain operational measures to make sure the project is carried out according to plan.

But he said that "Britain could not wait otherwise it would turn instead to EDF's competitors" to carry out the project, and reaffirmed President Francois Hollande's commitment to the project.

The Hinkley project was first announced in October 2013 but has stalled as EDF has sought to find partners and financing. Last year, the company secured a deal with China's General Nuclear Power Corporation, which will pay a third of the cost in return for a 33.5 per cent stake.

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