French state-backed energy utility EDF has raised the cost of completing its controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in the UK.
“The project completion cost is now estimated between £21.5bn and £22.5bn, an increase of £1.9bn to £2.9bn compared to the previous estimate,” said EDF in a statement on Wednesday.
“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,” added EDF.
Hinkley Point C is one of three projects in Europe where next-generation European pressurised reactors are under construction. The others, Olkiluoto in Finland and EDF’s flagship Flamanville in France, are delayed and over budget.
The cost increase at Hinkley Point comes as EDF is engaged in conversations with the French government to come up with a restructuring plan for the group. It would involve a company wholly owned by the government that will house nuclear and hydro, and a subsidiary housing renewables, services and networks that would be partially listed.
The plan is to help EDF fund investment in nuclear and renewable energy, as well as allowing it to push for a new regulated price for nuclear energy that needs to be approved by Brussels.