The UK Government has approved a £2bn ($3.1bn) financial guarantee for the £24.5bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, which will be the first new atomic power centre in the country for more than two decades.

The project, to be developed in Somerset, has received the government guarantee under Infrastructure UK, according to UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

Financial support will help French power project developer EDF to accelerate the final investment decision for the nuclear plant.

Hinkley Point C is supported by China General Nuclear and China National Nuclear, who are expected to give their approval later in the year.

Osborne said: "Nuclear power is cost-competitive with other low-carbon technology and is a crucial part of our energy mix, along with new sources of power such as shale gas.

"Nuclear power is cost-competitive with other low-carbon technology and is a crucial part of our energy mix."

"It is another move forward for the golden relationship between Britain and China, the world’s oldest civil nuclear power and the world’s fastest growing civil nuclear power."

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Once operational, the power plant is anticipated to supply about 7% of the country’s total power mix.

The project will create more than 25,000 jobs and boost energy security in the UK through reliable, affordable, low-carbon power.

Additionally, it is in-line with the UK’s strategy to replace and upgrade around 25% of its power generation capacity over the next ten years, as it is currently based on ageing nuclear facilities and coal power plants.

In 2014, the European Commission (EC) approved a £17.6bn subsidy deal for the project between the UK Government and EDF; however, green energy supporters have opposed the subsidy grant, voicing concerns that it would mar power pricing and competition in the market.

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