MPs seek assurances on plan B for Hinkley C nuclear plant

Hinkley Point A and B nuclear power stations are seen behind the site where EDF Energy's Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will be constructed in Bridgwater, southwest England October 24, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON (Reuters) - A British parliamentary committee has asked the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to outline any contingency plans and potential costs if the Hinkley Point C nuclear project collapses. The 18 billion pound project was announced in October 2013 and the plant is seen as vital to securing British electricity supply, but a final investment decision has been delayed while developer EDF seeks partners and financing. "Given the uncertain timetable I would like to know what contingency plans you have in place in case Hinkley Point C does not materialise ... what the costs would be to the UK," the Energy and Climate Change Committee said in a letter to energy minister Amber Rudd. The letter comes a day after the MPs took evidence from industry experts and Vincent de Rivaz, CEO of EDF's British arm EDF Energy. De Rivaz said that the project will go ahead but would not confirm a timescale for an investment decision. Questioned by Reuters on whether a plan B is in place, a spokeswoman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said only that the Hinkley Point project is progressing well. The French government last week said it was ready to provide the financial backing EDF needs to go ahead with the project but has yet to set out what form this support will take. The project is part of British energy plans to replace ageing power plants and meet emission-reduction targets. Hinkley Point C is forecast to supply about 7 percent of Britain's electricity generation and could create more than 25,000 jobs during the construction phase, the government has said. (Reporting By Susanna Twidale; Editing by David Goodman)