EDF looks set to give Hinkley Point C the green light after it announced it would make a final investment decision next week.
The French energy giant said it would call a board meeting next Thursday, with an FID on the agenda.
A decision will be welcomed by the contractors that have secured more than £1.3bn-worth of contracts at the plant.
In a statement released by EDF, it said an FID would see the first concrete reactor scheduled for mid-2019.
The announcement comes during prime minister Theresa May’s visit to France, where she held talks with French president Francois Hollande.
An investment decision would bring an end to months of speculation over whether the Somerset project would go ahead.
Last October EDF said it expected to make a final investment decision on the plant by the end of the year, but this target was missed.
It was then followed by a number of dates for an FID given by EDF and the French government, which have also failed to materialise.
Doubts over the project have intensified following Brexit, despite the EDF board saying the vote to leave would have no impact on its decision.
While the French and UK governments have backed the Somerset project throughout, unions on EDF’s board have called for the project to be delayed due to concerns over the financial burden the company will take on.
EDF’s resources have been stretched by its absorption of reactor business Areva and a £83bn plan to upgrade 58 of its existing nuclear plants in France.
Hinkley Point C would be a crucial part of the UK’s future energy mix, providing 7 per cent of the country’s total electricity needs when up and running in 2025.
However, EDF’s Flamanville plant in northern France has been beset by problems since construction started in 2007; it is now running six years behind schedule and more than €7bn (£5.2bn) over budget.
The technology is also being used used at the Olkiluoto 3 reactor in Finland, which is currently 10 years behind schedule and €5bn (£3.7bn) over budget.
- Balfour Beatty Bailey (joint venture), comprised of Balfour Beatty and NG Bailey: electrical cabling and equipment installation
- Cavendish Boccard Nuclear (JV), comprised of Cavendish Nuclear and Boccard: mechanical pipework and equipment installation
- ACTAN (JV), comprised of Doosan Babcock, with Axima Concept and Tunzini Nucléaire: heating, ventilation and air conditioning
- Laing O’Rourke: construction of workers’ campus accommodation
- ABB UK: power transmission
- Premier Interlink (WACO UK): construction of temporary buildings
- Weir: large pumps for cooling water
- Clyde Union: main pumps for feedwater system and cooling water system