UK nuclear power plant gets green light

UK nuclear power plant gets green light
The Hinkley Point C plant, costing an estimated £16bn, will provide nuclear power for the next 60 years - image courtesy of EDF Energy.

The government has given the go-ahead for the UK's first new nuclear station in nearly 60 years through a consortium led by French firm EDF Energy.

The consortium to build the Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset also includes Chinese investors, with ministers saying the deal will help take the UK towards low-carbon power and lower generating costs in future.

The two reactors planned for Hinkley, set to cost an estimated £16bn and will provide power for about 60 years, are an integral driver of the coalition’s plan to shift the UK away from fossil fuels towards low-carbon power.

Secretary of State for Energy Edward Davey said: “For the first time, a nuclear station in this country will not have been built with money from the British taxpayer.”

Mike Tynan, chief executive of the Nuclear AMRC, said the announcement is a welcome one to the UK energy sector.

“This is a significant milestone in the development of new nuclear power stations in the UK. Utilities, developers and investors need confidence in both long term cost and revenue profiles for making a final investment decision, and I’m sure that this announcement will be welcomed by everyone involved in UK new nuclear build,” he said.

“The Nuclear AMRC looks forward to the Hinkley Point scheme moving forward with EDF Energy and is already working closely with EDF and Areva to develop the UK supply chain.”

The two sides have now agreed the strike price of £92.50 for every megawatt hour of energy Hinkley C generates, with critics concerned at the fixed price being almost twice the current wholesale cost of electricity.