by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) March 22, 2016
French power company EDF will take a final investment decision on the controversial Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in Britain by early May, Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday.
Hinkley Point, which EDF is set to build in partnership with China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), will be Britain's first nuclear power plant in decades and is to provide seven percent of its energy needs by 2025.
With a projected cost of £18 billion (23.2 billion euros, $25.5 billion) it will also be one of the world's most expensive nuclear power plants.
Macron said EDF will take its final decision "at the beginning of May".
"It must be decided before the EDF general assembly and we must give our British partners full visibility on this investment which is absolutely critical for them," said Macron.
Questions have been raised about the financial viability of the project as EDF, 84-percent owned by the French state, is struggling with a debt pile of more than 37 billion euros.
EDF has reportedly asked the government to help it finance the contested plan to build Hinkley Point, and Macron said last week that the French government was willing to inject fresh capital into the energy giant if necessary.
While EDF has yet to give its final green-light to the enormous project, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged their support for the project earlier this month.
And European Union anti-trust regulators have cleared a partnership between EDF and CGN to build the plant.
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