THE Hinkley C nuclear power station project could become a casualty of Brexit, it has been reported, while EDF says the scheme will not be affected by the vote.

Plans to build the new £18 billion plant in Somerset could be cancelled now that Britain has voted to leave the EU, a Government advisor has told the The Times.

However, energy firm EDF has insisted the Brexit vote will have “no impact” on their strategy.

Paul Dorfman said it is “extremely unlikely” that French energy giant EDF will continue with its plans, in the latest of a series of delays for the development.

Mr Dorfman, senior research fellow at University College London, told The Times: “How can EDF invest billions when there is so much uncertainty?”
Angus Brendan MacNeil MP, chairman of the Commons energy and climate select committee, said Hinkley is “bedevilled by uncertainty”.

“Until last week ... EDF was investing in another EU member state. Now that is no longer the case,” he added.

The plant was originally set to be completed by 2017 but will not generate power until at least 2025, after issues with funding and French unions.

But EDF has insisted Brexit will have no impact.

EDF chairman Jean-Bernard Levy made a statement emphasising there should be no fears of reconsidering the £18 billion plans to build two EPR reactors at the site.

“As of today, we believe that this vote has no impact on our strategy,” EDF chairman Jean-Bernard Levy Mr Levy said on Friday.

“Our business strategy is not linked to Great Britain’s political affiliation with the European Union, so we have no reason to change it.”

Somerset County Gazette: An artist's impression of Hinkley Point C

The plan for Hinkley Point C is currently being challenged by the group’s French trade unions, with the delayed final investment decision still pending.

Mr Levy added: “I would just point out that in the last few days, spokespeople on energy issues for the Brexit camp – notably Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom – have on numerous occasions and again in recent days come out in favour of maintaining the decarbonisation policy, of maintaining the nuclear option, and of maintaining the Hinkley Point project.

“Therefore, there are no consequences from this vote today.”


He also sought to reassure about the financial impact of the pound falling on EDF’s accounts.

“We operate in the markets like any large company, and we made sure that we did not take a position one way or the other. That means that we are in a neutral position vis-à-vis the movements that could occur in the markets,” he said.

“Market analysts believe that the pound will drop, but if the currency falls, the economy becomes more competitive.

“I think we need to adapt to economic conditions and to exchange rates, which can evolve.”

MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset Ian Liddell-Grainger insisted he will do all he can to ensure it is business as usual for companies in his Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency.

“What is of over-riding importance is that we maintain our trading arrangements with the rest of Europe, and if any local companies do start experiencing problems then I would ask them to get in touch,” Mr Liddell-Grainger said.

“As to Hinkley Point, I don’t see the Brexit vote representing any impediment to the progress of the project.”