Hinkley Point power station in Somerset, UK’s first new nuclear plant in decades, is expected to cost £1.5bn more than the initial estimates, French energy group EDF has said.

While EDF is funding two-thirds of the project, China is investing the rest.  The project is expected to create over 25,000 jobs.

After a review of the project, EDF said the cost of the power station is likely to rise by 10% to £19.6bn. The revised cost estimate comes less than a year after the project received final approval.

EDF confirmed that the first reactor, which was due to be operational in 2025 according to the original plan, faced the risk of a 15-month delay, and the second unit nine months. However, EDF hoped to complete the first phase by the end of 2025 as planned.

The latest revision is the second increase for the project: the price had increased from £16bn to £18bn in 2015.

Responding to EDF's announcement on Hinkley Point, Institution of Mechanical Engineers Energy and the Environment Head Dr Jenifer Baxter said: “Today’s news that the Hinkley Point C project will cost more and maybe take longer means that it’s possible that some existing power stations will require further life extensions.

“It is not an option to “turn the lights off” and that means that any gaps will need to be covered by gas and other technologies to secure supply and meet changing demands.”

In June, the National Audit Office (NAO) said that the UK Government plans to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant could need additional cash and electricity payment top-ups worth £30bn ($38bn).

The parliamentary watchdog said that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s deal for Hinkley Point C is a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits.

Image: Illustration of the Hinkley Point C nuclear project in the UK. Photo: courtesy of EDF Energy.