New Projects, Nuclear, O&M

UK’s Hinkley Point C expansion costing up to $3B more than expected, EDF says

The French company building the United Kingdom’s first new nuclear reactor construction in years has raised its estimate of the project’s cost by several billion Euros.

EDF Energy, which is leading the Hinkley Point C expansion in England, reported that the project’s completion cost is now estimated between 21.5 billion and 22.5 billion Euros ($23.5B to $24.6B U.S.). This is 10-15 percent or almost 2 billion to 3 billion Euros ($2.1B to $3.2B) higher than previous estimates.

“Cost 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,” the EDF announcement reads. “Under the terms of the Contract for Difference, there is no impact for UK consumers or taxpayers.”

The company highlighted several achieved or pending milestones on the project which began work in recent years after more than a decade of planning and several years of site preparation. Workers at Hinkley Point C delivered J-0, the completion of the nuclear island “common raft” for Unit 1, EDF reported.

The common raft for Unit 2 is expected to be completed by June 2020, according to EDF. The term common raft refers to concrete base slab on which the nuclear islands sit, according to reports.

EDF says that Unit 1 should be generating power by the end of 2025. Financing for the Hinkley Point C project is coming from parent firm EDF and Chinese nuclear power provider CGN.

 The 3,200-MW project in Somerset would be England’s first new nuclear station since the 1990s. It has encountered intense opposition, financial and logistic challenges, but EDF planners have stayed committed to completing it.