After months of delay, EDF has made the final funding decision over Hinkley Point C. The decision was confirmed on July 28, following a meeting of the board of directors. The meeting approved the £18 billion of funding needed for the project, which will open up a new generation of nuclear energy for the UK.
Following the announcement, EDF stated it would be signing contracts with its overseas partner, China General Nuclear Power Generation, which has a 33.5 per cent share in the project, and with its main suppliers.
Speaking about the agreement between EDF and China General Nuclear Power Generation in 2015, the then Energy Secretary Amber Rudd, said:
“The Government will support new nuclear power stations as we move to a low-carbon future. Hinkley Point C will kick start this and is expected to be followed by more nuclear power stations, including Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex. This will provide essential financial and energy security for generations to come.”
EDF was also expecting to sign contracts with the UK government. However, the government made the surprise announcement that it will be delaying the decision on whether to give the plant the go ahead.
The government will review the plans for Hinkley Point C and make the decision in the Autumn. Despite the delay, EDF has indicated that it’s confident the government will give the nuclear plans its approval.
In the meanwhile, Friends of the Earth has urged ministers to use the review as “an opportunity to do the right and popular thing and end support for Hinkley”. The environmental organisation also argues that renewables and energy storage offer a better deal.
Concerns over Hinkley Point C
Environmentalists have raised concerns over the amount of nuclear waste that might be generated, and there has been some discussion over the costs to the consumer. However, the plans for the plant have been welcomed by Unite and several nuclear industry experts.
Energy security, carbon emissions and job creation
Alternative forms of producing energy are necessary if the government is to reduce carbon emissions and secure future power supply. Once it is up and running, the Somerset-based plant will have the capacity to power 6 million homes.
The project itself will create an estimated 25,000 jobs, as well as providing apprenticeship opportunities and boosting local business through supply contracts. When Hinkley Point C has been built, it is estimated there will be 900 ongoing jobs at the site.