Hinkley Point nuclear plant to be delayed and cost £500m more

Hinkley Point nuclear plant to be delayed and cost £500m more than expected

Hinkley Point C – the nuclear power station being built in Somerset – is set to be delayed, and costs are likely to be £500million more than previously thought, according to the energy giant behind it.

EDF said ‘significant progress’ has been made on the site, near Bridgwater, despite the pandemic, but previous cost estimates of £21.5billion to £22.5billion have been revised up. 

It is now expected to be in the range of £22billion to £23billion and the start of electricity generation from Unit 1 is now expected in June 2026, and not the end of 2025.

Expensive: How the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset will look. It is expected to be completed in June 2026

Before the previous costings of £21.5billion and £22.5billion, the estimated price of the project had been £20.3billion. 

Original estimates had been £18billion. Once completed, it will generate electricity for around 6m, or 7 per cent, of the country’s homes.

EDF said the delay and rising cost mean the expected rate of return from its investment will fall from between 7.6 per cent and 7.8 per cent to between 7.1 per cent and 7.2 per cent.

A delay of nine to 15 months for Units 1 and 2 would cost around £700million and knock the rate of return by a further 0.3 per cent.

The Hinkley site reached a major milestone last summer, with EDF completing the 49,000-ton base for the second reactor on schedule, less than a year after completion of the first reactor’s base in June 2019.

Completion of the second reactor base benefited from experience gained on the first unit, which led to significant increases in productivity.

EDF said this will benefit the proposed project at Sizewell C in Suffolk, where a deal is being negotiated with ministers for a site that could generate enough electricity to provide 7 per cent of the UK’s energy demands.