HINKLEY C is going to cost up to another £2.9 billion more than anticipated, and faces further delays.

French energy company EDF said the new nuclear power station in Somerset could be delayed by another 15 months.

In a statement released this week, EDF said the total cost of the project had risen to between £21.5bn and £22.5bn, up at least £1.5bn since the previous estimate in 2017.

However UK taxpayers and customers will not foot the bill for the increases - that will fall on state-owned EDF and China’s CGN.

In a statement EDF said: “Costs increases reflect challenging ground conditions which made earthworks more expensive than anticipated, revised action plan targets and extra costs needed to implement the completed functional design, which has been adapted for a first-of-a-kind application in the UK context.”

EDF hope the new nuclear power station, which will power up to six million homes, will be still be completed by 2025, but say the risk of that being moved back to 2026 has increased.

There is increased pressure from the renewable energy sector, with record low offshore wind prices announced last week.

Prices for new wind power delivered by 2025 were set at prices as low as £40 per megawatt hour. By comparison, power from Hinkley Point C is expected to cost £92.50 per megawatt hour.

Huge progress is being made with the site, with Hinkley C meeting the milestone known as J-0, on schedule in June 2019.

The world’s biggest crane ‘Big Carl’, built by Sarens, is set to be on the site for the next four years.

The 165 metre high crane and weighs 10,000 tonnes.

Work has started to install the 38,000 concrete segments required to support the three underground marine tunnels at up to 33 metres below the seabed of the Bristol Channel.

Once complete, the tunnels will form a critical part of Hinkley Point C’s cooling system and will have the capacity to transfer 120,000 litres of water per second.

The 1,200 tonne machine, named Mary in honour of Lyme Regis fossil finder Mary Anning, is capable of excavating more than 11 tonnes of rock per minute.

It will be run by 12 operators including a pilot, with supporting team at the surface.