UK Government approves Hinkley Point

14 September 2016 (Last Updated September 14th, 2016 18:30)

The UK Government has given approval to Hinkley Point after imposing safeguards on future projects.

The UK Government has given approval to Hinkley Point after imposing safeguards on future projects.

Following a comprehensive review and a revised agreement with EDF, the government has decided to proceed with construction.

The agreement now states the government can prevent the sale of EDF’s controlling stake before the completion of construction without any prior notification or agreement. The government will also be able to intervene in the sale of EDF’s stake once the plant is in operation.

In addition, it will take a share in all future nuclear new-build projects to ensure significant stakes cannot be sold without consent.

"We need a serious discussion of cost effective opportunities that offer as much or a greater contribution to the UK economy so we’re not boxed in to such a decision again."

Welcoming the decision, China General Nuclear Corporation was quoted by the BBC as saying it was not concerned about the new ownership rules.

EDF's chief executive Jean-Bernard Lévy, group said: "The decision of the British Government to approve the construction of Hinkley Point C marks the relaunch of nuclear in Europe."

Warwick Business School's head of global energy research network David Elmes said: “This is what being painted into a corner feels like. After a surprise delay by the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, the UK Government’s confirmation of the deal to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point locks UK bill payers into an expensive source of energy for decades to come.

“The UK’s climate change commitments make it tough to provide electricity reliably at low emissions, but this deal was started a decade ago when we hoped the companies involved could deliver it on time and at a reasonable cost. The price UK bill payers are committing to through the government is now double and the start date has slipped at least 8 years.

“The choices the UK has for the supply and use of energy have changed considerably since this deal was first conceived.  

“The ability of governments, companies, and financiers to commit to such huge projects has also faded. While those involved will be hugely relieved; we need a serious discussion of cost effective opportunities that offer as much or a greater contribution to the UK economy so we’re not boxed in to such a decision again.”

The UK currently has eight power stations, which cater to around 20% of energy requirements. Almost all of these are due to close by 2030. Hinkley Point C will cater to 7% of the requirements for 60 years.