French strategic group EDF approved Hinkley Point

The Executive Board of French group EDF, the world leading electricity producer, approved the final investment decision (FID) to build the two Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear reactors in Somerset, south-west of England. As a major point of the group’s CAP 2030 strategy, HPC should benefit the entire French and British nuclear industry.

In the context of a jeopardized French strategic industry, this decision comes both as a revitalization of a crucial industry for the future and the opening up of new prospects with the unprecedented participation of China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) which will finance nearly one third of the total investment estimated at USD 27 billion.  However, challenges still characterize this critical project for France with the resignation of former CFO Thomas Piquemal and the opposition of administrator Gérard Magnin.

Assessing that the HPC project validates prematurely the viability of the new EPR reactor whose delivery suffers from a 9-year-long delay in Finland, opponents denounced the excessive financial burden that could, in case of failure, put the whole group at risk. The update of the strategic partnership between EDF and AREVA could alleviate these concerns. Finally, the UK government has surprised saying it will make its final decision in the early autumn after having “considered carefully all the component parts of this project.”