EDF CEO expects investment decision on Hinkley Point this year

Steam rises at sunset from the cooling towers of the Electricite de France (EDF) nuclear power station at Nogent-Sur-Seine, France, in this November 13, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/Files

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EDF EDF.PA CEO Jean-Bernard Levy expects the French utility will take a final investment decision on the British Hinkley Point nuclear plant this year.

“We are working actively today with our Chinese partners to complete the discussion that we are having and announce a final investment decision very soon,” he told a Brussels conference on energy on Tuesday.

Asked whether “very soon” meant this year, Levy said “if in my thinking very soon did not mean this year, I would be disingenuous”.

The 18 billion pound (23.3 billion euro) project was first announced in October 2013 and EDF announced a partnership for it with Chinese utility CGN in October 2015, but an investment decision has been delayed several times although EDF has said repeatedly a decision would come soon.

Levy did not say whether a Hinkley Point decision could come before or after the June 23 referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

Last week, Levy said he expected EDF would pour its first concrete for Hinkley Point in 2019 and that the potential exit of Britain from the European Union would not change the plan.

Reporting by Barbara Lewis and Alissa de Carbonnel; editing by Geert De Clercq and Susan Thomas