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Anxieties on the impact of pandemic on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project, -major delays could result

Telegraph 23rd May 2021, EDF has warned that the coronavirus pandemic could cause major delays to
its £23bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. Talks are continuing between the French state-owned power business and British officials about potential hold-ups caused by the Covid crisis. Hinkley’s start date has
already been pushed back to June 2026 due to a six-month delay caused by the pandemic. It was originally due to come online in 2025 when it was given the go-ahead in 2016. EDF first raised concerns over the possible
delays at the start of the pandemic with the Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC), the government-owned company that acts as counterparty on clean energy subsidy contracts.

Under its subsidy contract, Hinkley Point C is guaranteed £92.50 per MwH for 35 years. The Somerset site – eing built by EDF and its Chinese partner CGN – will become the UK’s first nuclear power plant in decades. However, the length of this 35-year term will be cut if Hinkley is not generating by May 2029 – reducing the guaranteed income for EDF.

It can be cancelled altogether if the plant is not operational by October 2033. EDF said it has not applied to the LCCC for a specific extension to those deadlines, but that on principle it may be entitled to an extension because Covid is a “force majeure” event – an unforeseen event that affects a company’s ability to deliver on its
contract. It stressed that the June 2026 schedule for Hinkley Point C to start generating, which was announced in January, remains unchanged and the project is making good progress. “We anticipate that it may take some
time to establish the true impact of Covid-19 on complex construction projects such as Hinkley Point, as it is still unknown when Covid-19 restrictions will cease.”

May 24, 2021 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK

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