Austria has filed a lawsuit in the European Court of Justice against the European Union’s approval of aid for EDF Energy’s proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in the UK.

Austrian Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann said his country believes that the highly subsidised nuclear project is in breach of European law and can affect the energy market by distorting competition.

In October 2013 the UK government and EDF Energy reached commercial terms for the £16 billion, twin-EPR project, including a 35-year guaranteed purchase price for energy from the plant for £92.50/MWh if only Hinkley Point C is built, or £3 less if both Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C are built. In October 2014, the European Commission ruled that the project did not violate European state aid guidance.

According to EDF Energy the 3300MW Hinkley Point C project is expected to cost about £14 billion for construction and £2 billion for land purchases, consents, spent fuel storage and staff training and recruitment in 2012 currency. EDF Energy has not yet made a final investment decision on whether or not to proceed with the project.

Commenting on Austria’s challenge, World Nuclear Association director general Agneta Rising said: "It is one thing to have an opinion, it is quite another to try and force your opinion on someone else.

"The UK public, indeed people in all countries, have the right to choose nuclear to meet their energy needs and to help address climate concerns if they so wish.

"It is a pity that the Austrian Government has decided not to respect that right."