It is great news for Britain’s nuclear industry as Hinckley Point C, a new nuclear power station, has officially been given the go-ahead for construction, despite previous fears that the whole project could be scrapped when the new Prime Minister, Theresa May put it under review this summer. Despite some concerns regarding security, both France and China will both hold stakes in the new power station, as well as funding much of the costs including eventual decommissioning. This reduces the financial burden on our present government.
The contract, worth approximately £18 billion, was approved by Business Secretary Greg Clark after his government department “carefully [considered] all the component parts of this project” which brings economic stimulus to Somerset where it will be built. As a result, EDF Energy of France and CGN of China will contribute to creating over 25,000 new local employment opportunities providing a solid foundation for business within the area, nationally and, of course, internationally. The result of this year’s referendum on membership of the European Union has evidently not prevented the two nuclear companies from outside of the United Kingdom to invest in the country and contributing to Britain’s future energy supplies.
Hinkley Point C will be capable of generating 3.2GW of electricity made up of two EPR nuclear reactor units, which are part of the third-generation pressurised-water nuclear reactor design. There is currently an existing nuclear reactor at its location in the south-west of England, but this is currently being decommissioned. Thus the reactor will help ensure that there will be infrastructure in place when virtually all but one of our currently nuclear power stations will be decommissioned by 2030. This is important in ensuring that Britain will have a low-carbon economy that is less reliant on fossil fuels; it was necessary for Hinkley Point C to be approved in order to have a major source of low-carbon energy that is proven to deliver a baseload supply of electricity. It is expected that Hinkley Point C will be part of Britain’s future energy mix incorporating other sources of energy such as natural gas, wind power and other developing technologies.
This event is significant for the nuclear industry as this will be the first nuclear power station to be built in this country for over two decades. With an expected lifespan of sixty years, it has the capability of delivering safe and reliable electricity enough for approximately six million homes.
The former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd MP, has commented saying “we are very committed as a Government to making sure that we build new nuclear and Hinkley Point will be the first of those”. Currently, there is overall support for new nuclear build, with specifically 54% of the public supporting the development of the project. Hinkley Point C will serve to kick-start the nuclear industry in this country and will inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers in the UK to be involved in national projects that forms a long-term solution to dealing with concerns about the country’s energy security and supply.
(Image courtesy of BBC)