First UK nuclear plant for 20 years is one step closer
The construction of Britain's first new nuclear power station for 20 years has come a step closer, as Chancellor George Osborne approved an initial Government guarantee worth £2bn for the proposed plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
The announcement came during the Chancellor's week-long visit to China, which is supporting construction proposals put forward by French energy company EDF.
Mr Osborne said new nuclear power was "essential" to ensure the lights stay on as ageing nuclear and coal plants are retired over the coming 10 years.
Hinkley Point C is expected to supply 7% of the UK's electricity needs - powering around six million homes - and create thousands of jobs in Somerset and more widely in the nuclear industry across the UK, as well as boosting Britain's energy security, he said.
The new infrastructure guarantee is intended to pave the way for a final investment decision later this year by EDF, supported by China General Nuclear Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation, with further financial amounts potentially available in the longer term.
The Treasury voiced its hope that Hinkley Point will open the door to "unprecedented" UK-Chinese collaboration on the construction of new nuclear power stations.