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New development for Hinkley

The UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced that a ‘revised agreement’ has been reached with EDF that will give the green light for construction of a planned 3.2-GW power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, UK.

The £20bn project is based around two pressurised water reactors designed by Areva and will create 25,000 jobs across the nuclear supply chain during the construction phase.

The government is understood to see Hinkley Point C as critical to keeping the UK’s ‘lights on’ and reducing carbon emissions. At present, the UK has eight power stations which generate around 20% of the country’s power needs. Almost all of these existing power stations are due to close by 2030.Hinkley Point C is expected to meet approximately 7% of domestic electricity demand for 60 years.

While the agreed contract for difference (CfD) – the guaranteed price for electricity generated by Hinkley Point C – still stands, the government has imposed ‘significant new safeguards for future foreign investment in critical infrastructure’. In a statement, Greg Clark, Secretary of State for BEIS, said: ‘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.’

A new legal framework for future foreign investment in UK critical infrastructure will mean the government will take a ‘special share’ in all future nuclear newbuild projects. This, it claims, will ensure significant stakes cannot be sold without its knowledge or consent. Developers or operators of nuclear sites will be required to inform the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) of any change of ownership or part-ownership. The government will then ‘advise or direct the ONR to take action to protect national security as a result of a change in ownership’.

A total of 16 GW of nuclear power is now planned or in the pipeline in the UK, including the Hitachi-Horizon proposal for three advanced boiling water reactors at Oldbury and at Wylfa on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales, and NuGen’s proposal to build three pressurised water reactors near Sellafield in Cumbria.

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