Board of EDF delays vote to proceed with Hinkley Point nuclear facility

French energy utility giant EDF is looking out for investors to finance its proposed €33bn (including funding costs) Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset, UK.

The French state-owned energy group, which is grappling with debts of €37 billion and plunging wholesale electricity prices, delayed a key board meeting last Wednesday under growing pressure from French energy unions to abandon the project because of the huge costs and financial risks involved.

According to the French newspaper Les Echos, the French giant is seeking help from the country’s government to find another state entity, which would be acquiring 10% stake initially allocated for Areva, scrapped since losses prompted the company to divest its nuclear unit to EDF.

The transaction is likely to be completed this year and will turn EDF to be the majority owner (66.5%) in the nuclear power project.The remaining 33.5% stakes are being held by Chinese partner CGN.

Expected to start commercial operations in 2025, the Hinkley Point C project will house two EPR reactors that can produce enough power to meet 7% of the country’s needs.

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