The cost to consumers of supporting the construction and operation of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset could hit £50 billion, according to UK Government figures.

The total would be eight times higher than the estimated cost given in 2013.

French power producer EDF Energy is guaranteed a strike price of £92.50/MWh generated by Hinkley.

In 2013, the UK Government estimated that it would have to make top-up payments to EDF of about £6bn over the life of the station, but this figure rose to £13bn in 2015 and has now exceeded £30bn because electricity market prices have fallen thanks to renewables and cheaper gas.

Ministers defend Hinkley

A UK Government spokesman told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “Consumers won’t pay a penny until Hinkley is built; it will provide clean, reliable electricity powering six million homes and creating more than 26,000 jobs and apprenticeships in the process.”

EDF added: “The strike price agreed with the Government has not changed.

“Hinkley Point C will be good value for consumers compared with alternative choices available in the 2020s.”

> See all the UK Government's Hinkley C documents