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Select committee slams EDF over Hinkley

Angus MacNeil slammed EDF chief executive Vincent De Rivaz in a letter to energy secretary Amber Rudd and insisted that a contingency plan must be drawn up by the government should the project not go ahead.

“Given the uncertain timetable [of Hinkley] we would like to know what contingency plans you [the government] has in place in case Hinkley Point C does not materialise,” MacNeil wrote.

“I would also like to know what the UK is liable for if the project is cancelled as a result of a decision by the UK government, and what the UK is liable for if the project is cancelled as a result of a decision by France.”

The letter comes just a day after the select committee grilled EDF Energy chief executive Vincent De Rivaz on the future of Hinkley Point C.

Mr MacNeil wrote that he was “disappointed” in Mr Rivaz’s inability to confirm a timeline for making a final investment decision on Hinkley, despite the French economy minster indicating a decision would come in May.

He said that while Mr De Rivaz stated “categorically” that the project will go ahead, he was not “inspired with confidence” due to the poor track record of Hinkley so far.

“We now watch with interest for EDF’s decision in early May,” wrote Mr MacNeil. “If it has not been made by the middle of May, following Mr De Rivaz’s comments to us yesterday, we will be calling him back to explain why.”

The £18bn project has been beset by delays since EDF submitted its plan to build a new nuclear plant on the Somerset site.

Last October EDF agreed terms with China General Nuclear Corporation on a strategic investment agreement that would see EDF take a 66.5 per cent stake and CGN a 33.5 per cent stake in the project – with a final investment decision expected within weeks of the deal.

Since then, a number of dates have been mooted as potential dates for a final investment decision to be made but all have failed to materialise. Last October EDF agreed terms with China General Nuclear Corporation on a strategic investment agreement that would see EDF take a 66.5 per cent stake and CGN a 33.5 per cent stake in the project – with a final investment decision expected within weeks of the deal.

Since then, a number of dates have been mooted as potential dates for a final investment decision to be made but all have failed to materialise.

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BDC 317 : Jun 2024