Could Brexit derail Sizewell C plans?

Sizewell C

Sizewell C - Credit: Copyright EDF Energy 2012 - Stag

The vote to leave the European Union has posed fresh doubts over the likelihood of a new nuclear power plant in Suffolk.

Joan Girling, of Together Against Sizewell C, said the Brexit vote made it less likely that EDF, the French energy giant, would proceed with Hinkley Point C in Somerset, or its sister scheme on the Suffolk coast.

Hinkley, which has already seen its timetable delayed, is considered the trigger for progressing the £16 billion project at Sizewell.

“I think whatever happens, voting to leave the European Union has created another complication on what is an already outdated and explosively expensive project,” she added.

“With the French unions already unsteady on Hinkley they’ve got the perfect opportunity to leave.”

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Ms Girling said she could not be sure what the Government or EDF would decide, during this period of uncertainty, but “someone, somewhere to pull the plug on the whole situation”.

Her comments come as senior Government figures have raised concerns about the impact of Brexit on EDF’s investment in the UK.

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Paul Dorfman, a Government advisor, told The Times the Hinkley project was “extremely unlikely” after last week’s referendum was followed by a 10% devaluation of sterling and political upheaval.

“It’s probably all over bar the shouting,” he added “How can EDF invest billions when there is so much uncertainty?”

Angus Brendan MacNeil MP, chairman of the Commons energy and climate select committee said Hinkley is “bedevilled by uncertainty”.

However, EDF insists Brexit will have no impact on its plans. “EDF confirms its commitment to the Hinkley Point project, which continues,” it said in a statement.

EDF Chairman, Jean Bernard-Levy, said the vote had “no impact on our strategy ... which is not linked with to Great Britain’s political affiliation with the European Union.”

“Market analysts believe that the pound will drop, but if the currency falls, the economy becomes more competitive,” he added.

“I think we need to adapt to economic conditions and to exchange rates, which can evolve.”

The Department for Energy and Climate Change said: “We are fully confident that Hinkley Point C will go ahead.”

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