The UK Government and France’s EDF Group today announced that they have reached commercial agreement on the key terms of a proposed investment contract for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset.
This paves the way for the construction of the first new nuclear power station in the UK in a generation. It will provide a stable source of clean power from 2023 – just as Scotland’s Hunterston-B nuclear plant in Ayrshire is scheduled for decommissioning.
Hinkley Point C will be the first new nuclear power station to be built since Sizewell B, which started generating electricity in 1995. It will begin the process of replacing the existing fleet of nuclear stations, most of which are due to close in the 2020s. Once built, it will provide a clean source of home-grown energy, helping to keep the lights on, cut emissions and reduce consumer bills over the long-term.
EDF Group and other investors will be responsible for funding this project. Consumers will pay for the electricity it generates from 2023 through their bills. Building a new fleet of nuclear power stations could reduce bills by more than £75 a year in 2030, compared to a future where nuclear is not part of the energy mix.
Prime Minister David Cameron, said: “Earlier this month I spoke about our new industrial policy that looks to the future, and about our determination to embrace new technologies and back new industries and energy sources so that they can flourish and help us build a rebalanced economy across the country.
“As part of our plan to help Britain succeed, and after months of negotiation, today we have a deal for the first nuclear power station in a generation to be built in Britain.
“This deal means £16bn of investment coming into the country and the creation of 25,000 jobs, which is brilliant news for South West England and for the UK as a whole. This also marks the next generation of nuclear power in Britain, which has an important part to play in contributing to our future energy needs and our longer term security of supply”.
UK Energy Minister Ed Davey, added: “This is an excellent deal for Britain and British consumers. For the first time, a nuclear power station in this country will be built without money from the British taxpayer. It will increase energy security and resilience from a safe, reliable, home-grown source of electricity. “
The Government will ensure that the operator of Hinkley Point C will be responsible for the full costs of decommissioning and its share of the costs of waste management.
Caroline Flint, MP, Shadow Energy Minister, commented: “David Cameron is now in the ridiculous position of saying that they can set prices 35 years ahead for the companies producing nuclear power, while insisting they can’t freeze prices for 20 months for consumers while much-needed reforms are put in place.”