The future of Britain’s nuclear industry got a much-needed boost this week after EDF Energy announced it has picked a preferred bidder to build its new plant at the Hinkley Point C project.
Late yesterday the French energy supplier said it chose the joint venture between France’s civil engineering firm Bouygues TP and UK engineers Laing O’Rourke.
The contract, worth around £2 billion, will create an estimated 4,000 jobs with many of the 3,000 or so construction workers under this contract likely to live in Somerset.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said this showed “clear evidence of their commitment to nuclear in the UK”.
Recently the UK’s nuclear plans were shaken when RWE npower and E.ON pulled the plug on their involvement with the Horizon nuclear plant. EDF itself has shown some concern over the impact of government reforms to the electricity market for nuclear investment.
EDF Energy Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz said: “The agreements announced show we are continuing to maintain momentum in 2012 towards our final investment decision.”
He suggested this final go-ahead is waiting on the outcome of Energy Bill, which is due to be finalised later this year.
Mr de Rivaz added: “2012 is a defining year for new nuclear. We will continue our discussions with Government about agreeing a legally robust investment framework. Agreeing the contract for difference is key – as I said at the recent Energy and Environment Select Committee hearing – it means that we and Government will have to be clear about our costs before we sign a contract for our project.”