ENERGY giant EDF says lessons learned from four-year delays to its new power station project in France will help shape its revised timetable for Hinkley Point C.

EDF Energy announced last week that its European Pressurised Reactor at Flamanville will not be on line until 2016 – four years later than planned – citing “structural and economic reasons”.

The company said progress had been slowed by two serious accidents involving construction workers on site and by changes that may have to be incorporated as a result of the Fukushima nuclear plant explosions in Japan.

But a spokesman for EDF said that it had learnt from the “invaluable” experience at Flamanville as it progresses towards a planned new power station at Hinkley Point.

He added: “Each time EDF builds the EPR, our expertise increases. We are already seeing the benefits of the experience from existing projects.

“We have already said publicly that we will publish an adjusted timetable in the autumn.

“We have also said that this adjusted timetable will take account of the final report from chief nuclear inspector Dr Mike Weightman and the lessons we are learning from experiences and challenges at our new build projects in China and in France.

“We will deliver this programme to the highest standards of safety.”

Campaigners Stop Hinkley claimed the Flamanville experience shows nuclear power to be costly and uncertain, and added: “The Fukushima accident in Japan could have helped to deal a death blow to further construction in France and here, as it already has in Germany.”

But Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger said that unlike the French plant, EDF had built in a contingency for tsunamis and remained confident of the safeguarding measure planned at the Hinkley site.