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We will deliver Hinkley on schedule and budget, says EDF Energy boss

Published 01/11/2016

Vincent de Rivaz said investors including EDF and China's state-backed energy firm CGN would bear the full financial risks of the project's construction
Vincent de Rivaz said investors including EDF and China's state-backed energy firm CGN would bear the full financial risks of the project's construction

The chief executive of EDF Energy has pledged to deliver the Hinkley nuclear power station on schedule and budget, adding that the UK government will not be asked for "one more penny" ahead of its completion.

Addressing the Lords Economic Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Vincent de Rivaz assured that investors, including EDF and China's state-backed energy firm CGN, would bear the full financial risks of the project's construction.

When asked whether the Government would be asked for more money to complete Hinkley, Mr de Rivaz said "absolutely not".

He added: "It is the first time that we are in a large construction project like that - a deal in which we, investors, take all the construction risk.

"We're not going to ask for one more penny from the customers for that."

Mr de Rivaz said that the trade-off was that the UK government will instead be bearing the market risk of the strike price - referring to the price it has guaranteed to pay EDF per megawatt hour once Hinkley starts delivering energy to the grid.

Hinkley is expected to provide 7% of Britain's electricity needs for 60 years, at a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour of electricity provided for the first 35 years.

EDF Energy is set to start generating energy from the nuclear power site by the end of 2025.

But committee members were sceptical of EDF's nine-year construction schedule, pointing to beleaguered projects using similar European pressurised reactors (EPR) in both Finland in France.

The chief executive struck back, saying that the company has "dramatically changed the approach" in its preparation for the UK project, by implementing a fully fledged, "stabilised" design and integrating digital technologies in construction.

"The assumptions on which the Finnish and French projects were launched were flawed... the estimates of the costs and the schedule were wrong, dead wrong," he said.

Mr de Rivaz added: "We have an integrated work schedule that has been prepared by all the main contractors... that was not the case in Flamanville," referring to the French reactor.

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