Hinkley Point C investment decision expected within months

12 February 2015

EDF Energy expects to make a final investment decision on its Hinkley Point C project within months, the UK-based company announced in its financial report for 2014.

During last year, further progress was made on plans to build the new nuclear power plant in Somerset with the approval by the European Commission of agreements between the UK government and EDF. Those agreements are for a long-term contract for the electricity generated at the plant - featuring two 1600 MWe Areva European Pressurised Reactor units - and for a guarantee for the project's debt.

"EDF and the UK government are working hard to finalize all agreements on Hinkley Point C and are making significant progress in all areas with the shared objective of finalizing documents in the coming weeks," EDF Energy said. "This will allow a final investment decision to be possible in the next few months."

EDF is also making progress in discussions with future investment partners in the project. In particular, progress is being made with Chinese partners on all aspects of their nuclear industrial co-operation in the UK, which is part of the wider partnership between EDF and Chinese companies.

EDF Energy recorded an operating profit last year of £649 million ($997 million), a fall of 25% on 2013, which it blamed on "challenging market conditions". The figure includes a one-off charge of £136 million r($209 million) relating to the reduction in value of gas generating and storage assets, meaning underlying profitability was 10% lower.

The company added that operating profit had been impacted by the precautionary decision in August 2014 to shut down Heysham 1 and Hartlepool nuclear power plants to allow a detailed program of boiler inspections to take place. These plants have since been returned to service.

But the performance of the company's other nuclear power plants was "very strong", it added.

Heysham 2 achieved more than 10.4 TWh of output, which the company said was a record for any advanced gas cooled reactor power plant in a single year. Hinkley Point B generated its highest output in ten years with no unplanned stoppages in 2014. And an "excellent" safety performance with the lowest ever number of lost-time incidents was recorded in its nuclear power plants' operational history.

As part of its "commitment to openness and education", EDF Energy has welcomed 90,000 people to its nuclear visitor centres. There has been progress on sustainability with all its nuclear power plants now holding the Wildlife Trust Biodiversity Benchmark for management of the biodiversity on nuclear sites.

China Premier Li Keqiang and British Prime Minister David Cameron last June signed a civil nuclear agreement, which the Department of Energy and Climate Change said paved the way for Chinese companies to invest in Hinkley Point C.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News