How the Hinkley Point nuclear project has developed

The government gave the go ahead to Hinkley Point C nuclear power station two months after Theresa May ordered a review of the scheme amid concerns over costs and security.

Here are the key milestones in the Hinkley development so far:

  • July 2006 - The government gives the green light to new nuclear power plants, suggesting the low-carbon energy source would make a "significant contribution" to cutting carbon emissions.

  • February 2007 - EDF boss Vincent de Rivaz promises Britain would be cooking Christmas turkeys on new nuclear power by 2017.

  • September 2008 - British Energy, which owns existing power plants in the UK, is bought by EDF for £12.5 billion. The firm reveals plans to build four new reactors in the UK.

  • October 2008 - A public consultation with residents neighbouring the Hinkley site begins.

  • March 2011 - Nuclear disaster at Fukushima power plant in Japan following magnitude 9 earthquake and huge tsunami hits confidence in nuclear power worldwide.

Police wearing respirators evacuate people away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after the earthquake in March 2011. Credit: Reuters
  • October 2011 - An application to build the new power station at Hinkley is received by the planning inspectorate.

  • February 2012 - Initial preparation work begins at the Somerset site.

  • November 2012 - The first new site licence for a UK nuclear power station in 25 years is granted to EDF's planned Hinkley Point plant.

  • March 2013 - The Environment Agency grants the three main environmental permits required for operating the nuclear power station. Coalition energy secretary Ed Davey approves the new plant.

  • October 2013 - The government agrees £92.50 per megawatt-hour will be paid for electricity produced at the Somerset site - around double the current market rate at the time.

Preparation work on the site began in 2012. Credit: PA
  • May 2014 - The second phase of construction work begins at the site.

  • October 2014 - The European Commission gives the final go-ahead for the £18 billion project.

  • February 2015 - The March deadline on a final investment decision is abandoned by EDF.

  • September 2015 - Chancellor George Osborne approves an initial government guarantee worth £2 billion for the proposed plant in Somerset and EDF group chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy announces that the 2023 first power date will not be met.

  • October 2015 - EDF signs an investment agreement with the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) to build the new plant.

Former Chancellor, George Osborne, touring a Chinese nuclear reactor under construction with EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivaz. Credit: Reuters
  • January 2016 - EDF delays its final investment decision again - it is understood the company is looking for new investment partners and has struggled to raise the cash for its 66.5% stake in the project.

  • March 2016 - Chief financial officer for EDF Thomas Piquemal has resigned, amid fears the project could jeopardise the company's financial position. A fortnight later, de Rivaz tells MPs that Hinkley Point will definitely go ahead.

  • May 2016 - A consultation is launched with the French unions about the project. Later in the month, de Rivaz appears again in front of MPs, insisting the scheme will go ahead.

Theresa May defended delaying the decision on Hinkley at the G20 summit. Credit: Reuters
  • June 2016 - Britain's vote to leave the European Union throws fresh doubt on the project. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd says the final investment decision is still expected soon, claiming "we are full tilt on Hinkley Point".

  • July 2016 - EDF announces board will meet to consider final investment decision on July 28. EDF gives the scheme the go-ahead but shortly after Theresa May takes over as prime minister, she delays the decision until the autumn to review costs and security issues.

  • September 2016 - During a visit to the G20 summit in China, May defends the delay, insisting it is down to "the way I operate" because she wants a fresh look at the evidence. The government later confirms the Hinkley C nuclear power station will go ahead following a "new agreement" with EDF.