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EDF delays final decision over Hinkley Point nuclear power plant until September

26 April 2016

France's economy minister Emmanuel Macron told French newspaper Journal du Dimanche that the final decision whether or not EDF could build the planned £18bn nuclear station at Hinkley Point would not now be taken until September. This is the latest of many postponements in the controversial project, and casts fresh doubt over the likelihood of the plant starting up in 2025 as planned.

Artist's impression of completed Hinkley Point C - Image: EDF
Artist's impression of completed Hinkley Point C - Image: EDF

Macron said three conditions had to be in place before the state-owned energy company could go ahead with the construction of two new reactors at the site in Somerset, south-western England.

The first was the need to ensure EDF's financial health, which he said had now been assured with the announcement on April 22 of a €4bn capital raising operation.  EDF would also need to consult with the unions, he said, as well as take certain operational measures to make sure the project is carried out according to plan.

The group’s unions have been hostile to the project, claiming it could put the future of EDF in jeopardy.

However he also said "Britain could not wait, otherwise it would turn instead to EDF's competitors" to carry out the project.

“The President has confirmed France's commitment. A final investment decision could be confirmed next September,” he added. Macron previously said that a decision would be taken in May.

The Hinkley project 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% stake.

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