Ever since nuclear power was invented the process has been equally controversial and expensive. But by the mid-1990s it was providing a quarter of the nation’s electricity. Safety concerns have always been key in gaining Government and public confidence – and occasional set-backs and disasters haven’t helped. Britain has been at the forefront of the technology but now is at a cross roads as Hinkley C’s future is put in doubt.

1947 Beginnings: work begins on nuclear facilities to assist the British nuclear bomb programme following the war using a former ROF site at Windscale. Soon afterwards work begins on a civilian nuclear power station starts on the same site.

1956 Up and running: Calder Hall nuclear power station opens at Windscale later called Sellafield.

1957 Somerset starts: using a traction engine to convey materials through the lanes near Cannington work starts on Hinkley A.

1965 Switch on: Hinkley A comes into service and continues until 2000 and is initially owned by the Central Electricity Board.

1967 New station: the diggers move in to start on Hinkley B.

1976 Number 2: power starts to flow from Hinkley B which is currently due to keep working until 2023.

1997 Power: nuclear is producing around a quarter of Britain’s energy but falls out of favour following a series of disasters such as Chernobyl in 1986 and the 1993 Severesk incident in Russia and the rise of renewables.

2005 Energy review: Tony Blair’s New Labour Government takes a fresh look at nuclear power.

2006 Good to go: the Labour Government backs a new nuclear power station production programme but looks to the private sector for funding.

2007 French connection: France’s nuclear energy giant EDF throws its hat into the ring and plans to build Hinkley C by 2017 using the EPR design.

2008 Green light: EDF buys Britain’s existing nuclear power plants, for £12.5bn and says they’ll build four power stations with two at Hinkley.

2008 Talks: Hinkley Point consultation begins with local residents.

2009 It’s a gas: British Gas owner Centrica invests in EDF with 20% stake.

2010 Badgers: EDF relocates a colony of badgers off the land earmarked for Hinkley Point.

2011 First problem: EDF puts start date back to 2018 amid concerns over Government subsidies.

2011 Fukushima: safety fears prompt major review of Hinkley after Japanese nuclear disaster.

2011 Planning: EDF says Final Investment Decision (FID) will happen in 2012 and puts in planning application. Opening date put back to 2019.

2012 Clocking on: work begins on Hinkley C

Initial preparatory works begin at the Somerset site.

2012 Strike price: Government guarantees price for electricity to EDF.

2012 Problem: FID fails to happen as EDF looks for new investors.

2013 Going: Centrica pulls out of the project.

2013 Good news: planning permission is granted.

2013 Money: Project now expected to cost £16bn. The Government agrees EDF should receive a guaranteed a price of £92.50 – twice the current market price of electricity - for 35 years.

2013 No FID: more delays with Hinkley C expected to start producing power in 2023.

2014 Preparations: work on roads, infrastructure and ground work underway.

2014 Help: state aid given an OK by the EU as estimates put plant £24.5bn.

2015 Delays: no FID despite assurances from the Government who confirm £2bn loan.

2015 Communists: Chinese Government steps in with 33% investment. First power is now scheduled for 2025.

2016 Silence: no FID despite assurances from EDF in January and February.

2016 Exit: EDF's chief financial officer Thomas Piquemal quits.