EDF Energy chief executive officer Vincent de Rivaz has this morning told the UK energy and climate change committee that Hinkley Point C will definitely go ahead.
He also told the committee the project would be delivered by 2025.
“Hinkley Point C will go ahead because we have the expertise, the supply chain and the right team, which includes our partner China General Nuclear (CGN),” de Rivaz told the committee.
He also said he was “confident” over the financing of the project, which is set to cost £18 billion.
Hinkley Point C will go ahead because we have the expertise, the supply chain and the right team
EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz
The committee, however, remained sceptical throughout the session. It suggested Hinkley Point C would likely cost around £24.5 billion to construct.
It also pressed de Rivaz over what it described as EDF’s “disconnect” with the French government, which said this week that a final investment decision would be delivered in early May.
However, de Rivaz – although suggesting a decision in May was a “fair assumption” – would give the committee no further hint as to a specific date.
The committee’s meeting with de Rivaz also included input from CGN, Horizon Nuclear Power and NuGeneration.
Meanwhile, a previous meeting heard submissions from Peter Atherton, managing director at investment banking firm Jefferies, Douglas Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK and Simon Taylor, lecturer in finance at Judge Business School.
Atherton told the committee that a power plant shouldn’t cost £20 billion or take 10 years to build - "even if it is a nuclear plant".
He also said Hinkley Point C offered poor value for money and was a high risk to UK taxpayers, but that replacing it with energy derived from renewable sources would “require more expenditure”.
Taylor, however, said that at some point in the future, renewables and [energy] storage would make nuclear unnecessary.
“But we are not there yet,” he added.
Parr, meanwhile, said Greenpeace “does not see new nuclear playing a part in the UK’s energy future”.
“Hinkley Point C shouldn’t be built,” Parr said.
“If it will be built, it is because of the political will of UK and French governments, but [it] is beyond commercial logic.”
In a statement following this morning's session, the UK Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) welcomed the three developers' commitment to new nuclear projects.
“Today’s committee evidence session saw the three new nuclear developers underline their commitment and enthusiasm to deliver much needed capacity; a programme which will deliver significant opportunities for the UK industrial supply chain," said Tom Greatrex, NIA chief executive.
“Developers, industry and government are all working together to ensure these opportunities are realised; to support jobs, UK industry and generate economic growth in all parts of the country," he added.