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EDF to decide next week on new Hinkley Point nuclear power station

Published 22/07/2016

AN artist's impression issued by EDF of plans for the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
AN artist's impression issued by EDF of plans for the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

Energy giant EDF will make its long-awaited final investment decision on the planned nuclear power station at Hinkley Point next week.

The company announced on Thursday night that it has called a meeting of its board of directors on July 28.

The agenda includes the final investment decision for the construction of two reactors at Hinkley Point C (HPC) in Somerset.

A statement said: "HPC is a unique asset for French industry as it would benefit the whole of the nuclear industry and support employment in major companies and smaller enterprises in the sector.

"This project has been the subject since 2013 of a significant sharing of information with employees and their representatives, illustrating the commitment of the company to quality social dialogue."

The French company announced in April that its works council would be consulted on the terms of the partnership with the Chinese Group CGN for the multi billion pound delayed project.

Hinkley Point C is a crucial part of the UK's future energy mix, providing 7% of the country's total electricity needs when up and running in 2025.

The final go-ahead has been delayed, raising doubts whether the power station would ever be built.

French unions have raised concerns about the cost of building the power station, but UK unions have offered strong support for the project.

EDF bosses have insisted the project will happen.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: "It's clear that we are open for business as we come closer to sealing the deal on this major investment in British infrastructure and British jobs.

"New nuclear is an essential part of our plan for a secure, clean and affordable energy system that will power the economy throughout this century. This is a welcome decision from EDF, and we look forward to the outcome."

Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: "It's right that the UK should remain open for business but handing billions of energy bill payers' money over to the French Government for an outdated technology makes no business sense.

"A possible final investment decision next week will only show that high-level post-truth politics trumps good sense. The type of reactor EDF wants to build at Hinkley hasn't yet been shown to work.

"For UK bill payers, the rationale for a massively over-priced power station like Hinkley has long since disappeared but all the key players are too embarrassed to stop it.

"This project is already over budget and behind schedule - a delay which could leave the UK with a serious power gap. Theresa May's government should stop a project that will fleece the millions of ordinary folks she has pledged to stand up for."

Justin Bowden, national officer of the GMB union, said: "Britain's shambolic and inexcusable lack of an energy policy makes the final investment decision on Hinkley Point C the most important yet for new Prime Minister Theresa May.

"The UK is already at growing risk of power shortages from our over-reliance on unpredictable renewables and if we are to keep the lights on, our homes heated and the economy functioning then Mrs May's new Energy Minister, Greg Clark, should be using every waking minute between now and Thursday working to ensure this deal is landed."

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