The Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset

Hinkley Point C nuclear plant build delayed as costs rise by a further £1.5bn

Image credit: Reuters

Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will cost nearly 10 per cent more than anticipated and will take longer to construct, according to revised cost estimates from energy operator EDF.

The new estimations will not have any impact on the contract signed by EDF and the British government, the company has said.

The French state-controlled utility raised its estimate for the project by £1.5bn above the original £18bn total. It also added that the risk of a deferral in the delivery (COD) of the project was estimated at 15 months for Unit 1.

EDF energy director Vincent de Rivaz told journalists in a conference call that following discussions with the British government, the new cost estimates and delivery delay will have no impact on the Hinkley Point contract signed between the company, the British government and partners.

The power station has had a tortured development process with the final approval being beset by delays and indecisiveness from both the government and the EDF board.

It eventually received the final go ahead in a private ceremony in London last September. 

The Prospect union has warned that jobs and investment could be lost unless the government urgently addresses the implications of Brexit for the civil nuclear industry.

Prospect, which represents engineers and specialists, called for a new independent body to be established to develop the sector and help British firms competing for contracts abroad.

Estimates suggest the global market for new nuclear projects and decommissioning over the next decade could be worth almost £1tr, with the market for new small modular reactors worth £250bn-£400bn, said the union.

General secretary Mike Clancy said: “Britain is a world leader in nuclear engineering, research and decommissioning, yet we risk losing out as uncertainty and Brexit hit the industry.

“We need clear leadership from government to get British nuclear back on track, helping to deliver new nuclear power generation, supporting innovation and creating more high-skilled jobs.

“The Nuclear Safeguards bill announced in the Queen’s Speech fails to address the risk to jobs from leaving Euratom or concerns about new power stations at Hinkley Point C or Moorside in Cumbria.

“That’s why we are calling for a new independent nuclear champion to advocate for the industry at home and abroad. In these uncertain times a properly resourced champion could put paid to uncertainty over nuclear, instead transforming the industry into an engine for jobs, growth and economic success.”

A Business Department spokesman said: “In last week’s Queen’s Speech, this Government made clear our commitment to establishing a UK nuclear safeguards regime as we leave the European Union and Euratom.

“There will be no immediate changes to the UK’s safeguards arrangements, the exact details of which will be subject to detailed consultation with the regulator, industry and international partners.”

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