* Hinkley due to come online in 2025
* Has been hit by previous delays and cost overruns (Adds statement from UK minister and background)
PARIS, Sept 27 (Reuters) - EDF Energy said it was making progress on the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in Britain, which has faced cost overruns and previous delays.
France’s EDF Energy said in a statement on Thursday that the project was on track to meet its next major milestone in 2019, namely the completion of the 4,500 tonne concrete platform on which the reactor buildings sit. It said the Hinkley project was on track to come online by the end of 2025.
The plant, being built by the British arm of EDF along with China General Nuclear Power Corp, has been beset by delays and higher cost estimates. Last year, EDF raised the cost estimate for Hinkley to 19.6 billion pounds ($25.7 billion).
Hinkley Point C had been thrown into doubt in 2016 when newly installed British Prime Minister Theresa May delayed a decision on whether to approve it, amid criticism over its pricing policy. The government eventually approved the project.
Hinkley Point C will be the first nuclear plant built in Britain in decades. It is expected to provide 7 percent of Britain’s power needs while helping to replace the country’s ageing nuclear fleet and closing coal plants.
“The project is making good progress and is on track to meet its next major milestone, creating more than 25,000 job opportunities. Nuclear has an important role to play in the UK’s energy future,” said British nuclear energy minister Richard Harrington in a statement.
$1 = 0.7614 pounds Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Adrian Croft