French power generation company Électricité de France's (EDF) board of directors has approved the final investment decision on building two EPR nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C (HPC) in Somerset, in south-west England.
The company has given authorisation to ensure the full execution of the project and with the approval, EDF will have to sign the contracts with the British Government, partner company China General Nuclear Power Generation (CGN), and the main suppliers of the project.
However, the project has faced a major setback after the UK Government postponed a final decision on it.
The final investment approval will see a new 3.2GW nuclear power plant, which is capable of generating 7% of the UK’s total electricity requirements, to be built at Hinkley Point, thereby providing electricity to about six million households in the country.
UK business and energy secretary Greg Clark was quoted by The Financial Times as saying: “The UK needs a reliable and secure energy supply and the government believes that nuclear energy is an important part of the mix.
"The government will now consider carefully all the component parts of this project and make its decision in the early autumn.”
According to union GMB, the EDF approval for the HPC will open new job opportunities for at least 25,000 workers, with about 5,000 local residents of Somerset working on the project alone.
Hinkley Point is expected to strengthen the industrial capability of the country both nationally and regionally, with a £225m boost to the South West. It would also help expand EDF business in Britain, where its subsidiary EDF Energy already operates 15 nuclear reactors. Scheduled for mid-2019, the first concrete of reactor 1 of HPC would coincide with the start-up of the EPR at Flamanville, which is scheduled for the end of 2018.
However, Netherlands-based environmental organisation Greenpeace said that the UK consumer will have to pay a large subsidy to EDF as well as to CGN with the investment decision made by EDF.
Image: Hinkley Point C project will generate 25,000 job opportunities during its construction. Photo: courtesy of EDF Energy.