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Agreement reached on Hinkley Point C nuclear plant

21 October 2015

EdF and China General Nuclear Corporation have committed to Hinkley Point C, confirming the first new nuclear build in UK for a generation.

Artist's impression of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station (image courtesy of EdF Energy)

The companies have signed a Strategic Investment Agreement which marks a critical moment for the site in Somerset. EdF has confirmed it will take a 66.5 percent stake in Hinkley with China General Nuclear Corporation taking 33.5 percent.

The Government and EdF have finalised the detail of the Contract for Difference which offers increased price certainty for the electricity produced from Hinkley Point C. The Funded Decommissioning Programme has been approved, which should ensure the cost of future decommissioning will not be borne by public funds.

Hinkley Point C will provide low carbon electricity to six million homes, twice as many as the whole of London, for around 60 years. The government says it will create 25,000 jobs, up to 1,000 apprentices and provide UK businesses with billions of pounds worth of supply chain contracts.

Dr Jenifer Baxter, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, welcomed the news “This development is positive news, which will help put the wheels in motion into developing the new generation of UK nuclear power plants at Hinkley Point C, Bradwell and Sizewell and creating capacity in power generation," she said.

“Nuclear is currently one of the least CO2-intensive ways to generate base-load electricity.  If we are to secure the UK’s energy future, while at the same time meet the country’s challenging emissions target, nuclear must play a part in the electricity mix, in addition to gas-generation and renewables.

“But while it is important to look to secure future energy supplies, the Government also needs to encourage significant investment in the whole nuclear life-cycle. We still need proper research and development into methods for recycling and maximising the energy returns from nuclear waste. We haven’t yet found a way of dealing with the large stockpile of nuclear waste at Sellafield, which is set to include an estimated 140 tonnes of plutonium by 2020.

"It is clear the UK has been too slow to address this issue. Long term deep geological disposal offers a potential solution, however around 20 years of testing is required in the UK for this approach to be used with confidence and we are yet to start this process.”

A 'Statement of Cooperation' between DECC and the China National Energy Administration is available to read here.

Chancellor George Osborne announced a government guarantee for Hinkley Point C on his recent five day tour of China.

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