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Hinkley Point given green light as plans for more nuclear plants to be submitted

Published 16/09/2016

CGI image of Hinkley Point C. (EDF Energy/PA)
CGI image of Hinkley Point C. (EDF Energy/PA)

The Chinese firm helping to build the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point is to submit a design for another site after the Government gave the go-ahead for the £18bn project.

State-owned CGN said it was now "able to move forward and deliver" nuclear capacity at other UK sites, including Bradwell in Essex and Sizewell in Suffolk.

The plan for Bradwell is to submit a design for UK regulatory approval soon in a process called generic design approval that could take four years. The firm will need to get the reactor design and technology approved for use in the UK before building the station, with one-third of the funding supplied by EDF.

The French energy giant is pressing ahead with the £18bn Hinkley power station after ministers ended uncertainty by saying that they had reached a "new agreement", imposing "significant new safeguards" for future foreign investment in critical infrastructure.

The power station will create 25,000 jobs, hundreds of apprenticeships and deliver 7% of the UK's electricity by 2025.

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: "Having thoroughly reviewed the proposal for Hinkley Point C, we will introduce a series of measures to enhance security and will ensure Hinkley cannot change hands without the Government's agreement.

"Britain needs to upgrade its supplies of energy and we have always been clear that nuclear power is an important part of ensuring our future low-carbon energy security."

Ministers said the agreement "in principle" with EDF means the Government will be able to prevent the sale of the French firm's controlling stake before completion of construction, without the prior notification and agreement of ministers.

The Government said that existing legal powers, and the new legal framework, would mean it was able to intervene in the sale of EDF's stake once Hinkley is operational.

A statement added: "The new legal framework for future foreign investment in British critical infrastructure will mean that after Hinkley, the British Government will take a special share in all future nuclear new-build projects. This will ensure that significant stakes cannot be sold without the Government's knowledge or consent.

"The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) will be directed to require notice from developers or operators of nuclear sites of any change of ownership or part-ownership. This will allow the Government to advise or direct the ONR to take action to protect national security as a result of a change in ownership."

Justin Bowden, GMB national secretary for energy, said: "Giving the thumbs-up to Hinkley is vital to fill the growing hole in the UK's energy supply needs."

Jean-Bernard Levy, EDF Group chief executive said the decision marked the "relaunch" of nuclear in Europe. "It demonstrates the UK's desire to lead the fight against climate change through the development of low carbon electricity," he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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