Hinkley Point C nuclear plant could cost 'billions more' and be delayed by three years

The 245-tonne steel dome was lifted onto the first reactor building in December 2023. Credit: EDF

The final cost of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant being built in Somerset could be as much as £46 billion, around a third more than initially expected.

The completion date could also be delayed by three years, according to EDF.

In 2022, the start of electricity production from the UK's first new nuclear power plant since the 1990s was scheduled for 2027.

A re-evaluation of the timeline and cost estimates suggests now that one of the two planned reactors in Somerset could be ready in 2029.

Another assumes it could be operational a year later, while a final scenario suggests adverse conditions could see that drag on until 2031, EDF warned.

The bill for completing the project is now estimated at between £31-34 billion in 2015 values.

The firm said if the risk of an additional 12-month delay – as imagined in the final scenario – did happen, it would result in an estimated additional cost of around £1 billion in 2015 values.

The updated estimate of £31-35 billion, could see costs reach £46 billion in today’s prices.

Engineering teams used the world's largest crane to lift a steel dome onto Hinkley Point C's first nuclear reactor. Credit: EDF

EDF is aiming for the plant to become a major source of decarbonised electricity supply for the UK, providing around 7% of national consumption.

In a note to Hinkley project staff, Stuart Crooks, managing director of Hinkley Point C (HPC), said: “Like other infrastructure projects, we have found civil construction slower than we hoped and faced inflation, labour and material shortages – on top of Covid and Brexit disruption.”

In December last year, building work on the multibillion-pound nuclear power station reached a major milestone, with the first reactor building being lifted into place.

EDF said the achievement ended the year on a high as the 14m-tall dome sat on top of the reactor building, which is 44 metres high.

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