There can be no further delays by EDF in completing the financial agreement for the construction of the Hinkley Point nuclear power station, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Wednesday 27 January).
Unite was commenting after EDF, the French energy giant, cancelled a crucial key board meeting due to have been held in Paris today that was expected to give the go-ahead for the final investment decision (FID) for the £24.5bn power station in Somerset.
The postponement of the board meeting until next month came after media reports had forecast a delay to the FID because of financial problems facing EDF, which is 84 per cent owned by the French government.
Unite national officer for energy Kevin Coyne said: “We are very concerned about the continual delays by EDF in announcing the final investment package for this vital project.
“There can be no more dilly-dallying on this, as construction work in earnest needs to start to give the UK the energy capacity required to keep the lights on in the decades ahead.
“Energy secretary Amber Rudd needs to ensure that the government is doing all it can to ensure that EDF is in a positive position at the board meeting. We suspect the latest delay is caused by the French government having concerns about getting all the financial ducks in a row.”
Last September, the British government’s pledged a £2bn underwriting of the Chinese investment in Hinkley Point – the first new UK nuclear power station in 20 years which is expected to deliver seven per cent of the UK’s electricity when it is due to start operating in 2025.
Kevin Coyne added: “The UK government needs to seriously review the future funding mechanisms for financing such large scale energy projects.
“The fact that the financing of Hinkley Point has been plagued with delays in getting the necessary investment package agreed just reinforces this point.
“The construction of Hinkley Point is vital in terms of employment in the south west, as it will provide many skilled jobs for a considerable length of time.
“Unite has repeatedly warned that business and domestic consumers face the very real prospect of power cuts and the lights going out in the years to come, if the government does not come up with a comprehensive energy strategy, including nuclear build, very soon.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2061 or 07768 693940.
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.