EDF announces delay, price rise for UK nuclear plant

PARIS (Reuters) - Britain’s Hinkley Point C nuclear plant will be delayed by six months to June 2026 and the cost will rise by another 500 million pounds ($687 million) France’s EDF said on Wednesday citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen for the EDF energy company on a building near the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station near Cannington in southwest England, January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The plant, originally expected to open in 2017, has witnessed repeated delays and cost rises, with the estimate now 22-23 billion pounds ($30.2-$31.60 billion).

EDF announced in November that it would review its work schedule and costs estimate in light of the pandemic.

“A detailed review of schedule and cost has been performed to estimate the impact of the pandemic so far. The start of electricity generation from (Hinkley’s) Unit 1 is now expected in June 2026, compared to end-2025 as initially announced in 2016”, EDF said.

“Despite being affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, Hinkley Point C has made significant progress in 2020 on site, in the design execution plans and on the manufacturing of equipment,” the company said.

Shares in EDF were down 1.5% in early trade.

The 3.2 gigawatt nuclear power station in Somerset, southwest England, is being built by the British arm of EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corp.

It is the first nuclear plant to be built in Britain in decades.

In November, EDF also said it would begin decommissioning Britain’s Hinkley Point B plant, which began operation in 1976, by July 2022.

($1 = 0.7280 pounds)

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Benoit Van Overstraeten; editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely