Financial News

  • 19 December 2013, 0:02

Hinkley Point Nuclear Deal With EDF Faces Probe

An inquiry has been launched into whether a £16bn government deal with French energy giant EDF to build a nuclear plant in the UK meets EU rules.

Britain has agreed to subsidise the project to build two reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, promising guaranteed power prices from the plant for 35 years.

The European Commission said it wanted the views of third parties because of the unprecedented nature and scale of the Hinkley deal.

It said it had "doubts that the project suffers from a genuine market failure" and it would assess whether the nuclear plant could in fact be built without government support.

"When public money is spent to support companies, the Commission has the duty to verify that this is done in line with the EU state aid rules," it added.

The coalition signed a deal with EDF in October to build the two reactors at Hinkley Point C, the country's first nuclear plant in two decades.

EDF is heading a consortium to build the plant, which will take about 10 years to build.

The project could derail David Cameron's efforts to lure £110bn of investment into Britain's ageing electricity infrastructure by the end of the decade.

Regulators have warned that the UK risks blackouts unless it speeds efforts to replace obsolete power plants.

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