Sources in France say decision on whether to give the green light to controversial project would be made on Wednesday. The final decision on whether to build Britiain’s first nuclear power station in decades is set to be made by energy giant EDF this week, amid claims of “panic” among the French firm’s board over the viability of the £18bn project. Sources in France said the decision on whether to give the green light to its controversial plant at Hinkley Point, Somerset – on which ministers are depending to “kick-start a major new generation of nuclear power stations” – would be made on Wednesday. But the largely state-owned company refused to comment, or even to confirm or deny that the meeting is taking place. This secrecy reflects the extreme sensitivity about the decision with practicalities and politics pulling in opposite directions. The project suffered a serious blow last week when French regulators delayed a decision on what to do about safety flaws in a similar reactor. But cancelling it would be a huge humiliation for British ministers, and could cause a cross-Channel diplomatic row. The “final investment decision” by EDF’s board – repeatedly delayed over the past two years – is the project’s only remaining hurdle. Both Ms Rudd and David Cameron are privately confident that Hinkley will go ahead, while George Osborne is relying on it to spur increased Chinese investment in Britain. A senior union source said that it was unlikely EDF would turn against it: “We haven’t heard much out of France, which suggests the situation isn’t going Pete Tong [wrong].” Yet there are signs of last minute jitters. Union leaders are reportedly warning the company of “financial, industrial and legal risks” in the project, while the French financial journal Boursier.com has suggested that there is “panic on board”.
Independent on Sunday 24th Jan 2016 read more »