U.K. Chancellor Hammond Hopes for Hinkley Reactor Decision Soon

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond gave the first indication that the country’s newly formed government supports the building of the Hinkley Point C nuclear project and wants to see a final investment decision soon.

Hammond, speaking on BBC Radio 4, said that uncertainty after Britain’s vote last month to leave the European Union has cast a shadow over talks with Chinese and French partners over development of the 3.2-gigawatt nuclear plant.

“I’m confident we will be able to get the Hinkley Point project going ahead,” Hammond said. “I hope we’ll be able to bring that project to a conclusion very soon.”

Electricite de France SA, Hinkley’s main backer, said on July 4 that the project to build two nuclear reactors for 18 billion pounds ($24 billion) is ready to be presented to the utility’s board for a final investment decision, after consultations with labor unions wanting to delay the project. The station is expected to be able to provide 7 percent of the U.K.’s electricity.

Subsidies promised to EDF by the U.K. for power generated from the plant are projected to reach 37 billion pounds, more than twice the estimate made a year ago, according to data published on a government website last week. The estimate reflects the difference between the 92.50 pounds that the government has agreed to pay per megawatt-hour for 35 years and new long-term forecasts for wholesale electricity prices.

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