The French government has said the deal that will see construction of the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear plant begin should be signed within weeks.
France’s economy minister Emmanuel Macron told the BBC this weekend that his government was fully committed to the Somerset project, despite ongoing speculation about its future.
Speaking to Andrew Marr, Mr Macron said: “We back [the] Hinkley Point project. It’s very important for France, it’s very important for the nuclear sector and EDF.
“Now we have to finalise the work, and especially the technical and industrial work, very closely with EDF, with the British government, to be in a situation to sign in the coming week or more.”
A final investment decision had been expected last year but the project has been beset by delays as negotiations between EDF and co-owner China General Nuclear Corporation have dragged on.
The decision was again expected in March, but Mr Macron subsequently told a French parliamentary committee that the deal would be signed in early May.
However, Mr Macron’s comments appear to contradict his ministerial colleague Ségolène Royale. Earlier this month, the French energy minister said that Hinkley Point could still be postponed unless EDF provided assurance that the cost of the plant would not jeopardise investment in renewable energy.
In March, EDF finance director Thomas Piquemal’s resigned from the French energy giant in March over concerns that terms of the final investment decision would be financially onerous for the company.
Speaking to Construction News in January, Hinkley Point’s construction director Nigel Cann said that work could start within weeks of the investment decision.
Under the terms of a strategic agreement signed last October, EDF will take a 66.5 per cent stake in Hinkley Point, with CGN taking the remaining 33.5 per cent.