UK approves $23.7b Hinkley Point C nuclear power station

UK approves $23.7b Hinkley Point C nuclear power station

The British government has told France it will approve plans to build a US$23.7 billion nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May gave the power station the go ahead and announced “significant new safeguards” for future investment in critical infrastructure.

The controversial scheme has been criticised over costs and national security worries.

The government confirmed a “new agreement” with EDF Energy (EPA:EDF), the French energy company leading the project. The agreement had been due to be approved with a $7.9 billion investment from China, prior to May placing the project under review in July.

The UK government said the revised agreement would be able to “prevent the sale of EDF’s controlling stake prior to the completion of construction, without the prior notification and agreement of ministers.”

It also said: “The changes mean that, while the UK will remain one of the most open economies in the world, the public can be confident that foreign direct investment works in the country’s best interests.”

Greg Clark, UK secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy stated: “Having thoroughly reviewed the proposal for Hinkley Point C, we will introduce a series of measures to enhance security and will ensure Hinkley cannot change hands without the government’s agreement. Consequently, we have decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation.”

The government is holding a guaranteed price of $122.15 to EDF for every MWH of electricity produced, despite worries it being higher than the market price.