EDF Hinkley Point decision to arrive next week
French energy company EDF is set to make its long-awaited final decision over whether to invest in the Hinkley Point nuclear power station next week.
The company announced last night that the final decision is on the agenda for a meeting of its board of directors on 28 July. If agreed upon, the company will construct two reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.
But following the UK’s decision to leave the EU last month, a government advisor said it was ‘extremely unlikely’ that EDF would continue with its plans due to the uncertainty caused by the result of the vote.
A statement said: "HPC is a unique asset for French industry as it would benefit the whole of the nuclear industry and support employment in major companies and smaller enterprises in the sector.
"This project has been the subject since 2013 of a significant sharing of information with employees and their representatives, illustrating the commitment of the company to quality social dialogue."
The French company announced in April that its works council would be consulted on the terms of the partnership with the Chinese Group CGN, which announced its 33.5 per cent investment stake in the multibillion pound delayed project in October.
Hinkley Point C is a crucial part of the UK's future energy mix and will provide 7 per cent of the country's total electricity needs from 2025 if the project goes ahead.
French unions have raised concerns about the cost of building the power station, but UK unions have offered strong support for the project. EDF bosses have insisted the project will happen in the past.
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: "It's clear that we are open for business as we come closer to sealing the deal on this major investment in British infrastructure and British jobs.
"New nuclear is an essential part of our plan for a secure, clean and affordable energy system that will power the economy throughout this century. This is a welcome decision from EDF, and we look forward to the outcome."
Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: "It's right that the UK should remain open for business but handing billions of energy bill payers' money over to the French government for an outdated technology makes no business sense.
"A possible final investment decision next week will only show that high-level post-truth politics trumps good sense. The type of reactor EDF wants to build at Hinkley hasn't yet been shown to work.
"For UK bill payers, the rationale for a massively over-priced power station like Hinkley has long since disappeared but all the key players are too embarrassed to stop it.
"This project is already over budget and behind schedule – a delay which could leave the UK with a serious power gap. Theresa May's government should stop a project that will fleece the millions of ordinary folks she has pledged to stand up for."
Meanwhile, a new report from trade union body the TUC has called for a government agency to fund energy research and support projects such as new nuclear power stations and offshore wind.
The UK could undergo a clean energy transition to create high-quality jobs in an industry worth hundreds of billions of pounds globally, it reads.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "[Business Secretary] Greg Clark's new department must seize the opportunity and use green tech to deliver great new jobs.
"Combining climate change and industrial policy in one department is an opportunity to get a share of the $500bn (£378bn) renewable energy industry for the UK.
"As energy from oil and coal gets more expensive, manufacturing firms will instead invest in countries with a plentiful supply of low-carbon energy.
"So the government must put investment in low-carbon industry at the heart of its new industrial strategy. It must focus that investment on towns that have lost their heavy industry, where decent jobs are still in short supply."