hinkley point coast

The £24.5bn nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, UK, has received final approval from European Union regulators.

EU regulators found that the revised UK plans to subsidise the construction and operation of the plant are in line with the EU state aid rules.

Thorough investigation revealed that the UK has agreed to "significantly modify" the financing for the project, thereby reducing the financial burden on taxpayers, according to the European Commission.

European Commission vice-president Joaquín Almunia said: "After the Commission’s intervention, the UK measures in favour of Hinkley Point nuclear power station have been significantly modified, limiting any distortions of competition in the single market.

"These modifications will also achieve significant savings for UK taxpayers. On this basis, and after a thorough investigation, the Commission can now conclude that the support is compatible with EU state aid rules."

"Earlier this week, Austria announced its plans to sue the European Commission if it gives clearance to the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant."

About 16 commissioners voted in favour of the project, while only 15 votes were needed.

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Earlier this week, Austria announced its plans to sue the European Commission if it gives clearance to the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant.

Nearly 25% of the EU policymakers were reportedly opposed to a deal to pay a guaranteed price of £92.50 per megawatt-hour for the power produced in the plant to EDF and its partners for 35 years, once the first reactor goes on-line.

This price is almost two times the existing wholesale power price.

The project, to be built by French utility EDF, will enable the UK to shift away from coal-fired plants to nuclear plants for power generation in order to avoid future power shortages as old facilities are retired.

CBI Director-General John Cridland said: "The European Commission’s green light for Hinkley Point is a significant milestone in the United Kingdom’s energy future.

"Hinkley should set the ball rolling for the UK’s nuclear new-build programme, putting us on the right path to achieving a secure and sustainable energy mix.

"It represents a real opportunity for growth, with the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs for people, not just in the local community, but up and down the whole country."

CBI is the leading independent employers’ organisation in the UK.

Image: The Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Photo: courtesy of Richard Baker.