EDF Pushes on with Controversial Hinkley Point C Nuclear Project

Hinkley Point C rendering

France-based utility EDF will move forward with the 21.51 billion euros ($23.81 billion), 3.2-GW Hinkley Point C nuclear project in England.

The board voted 10-7 during a July 28 meeting, according to the Mirror. Just before the meeting started, one of the board members, Gerard Magnin, reportedly resigned over concerns that Hinkley Point C was too costly for EDF and will divert the company away from investing in renewables, according to Independent. Some French trade unions and EDF’s former chief financial officer are among others who have voiced concerns over EDF’s financial viability if it takes on the Hinkley Point C project, as well as an expected increase in electricity prices for UK consumers.

The UK government guaranteed a price of 110.57 euros per megawatt-hour ($122.26/MWh) of electricity, more than twice the current cost, for the output of the plant for 35 years. The BBC said wholesale prices have dropped since the agreement, leaving the UK government to make up the difference.

EDF shareholders agreed Monday to issue new shares to raise 4 billion euros ($3.4 billion) to help pay for the project, of which the French state will buy 3 billion euros ($3.32 billion) worth. China General Nuclear bought a one-third stake in the project, leaving EDF to foot the remainder unless it can find other investors. The French government, which owns 85 percent of EDF, and the UK government both back the project, saying it is “necessary” for both countries.

EDF’s two other European Pressurized Reactor projects in France and Finland are over budget and behind schedule.

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