French energy giant EDF Energy has been given the green light to build Britain’s first nuclear plant in a generation. EDF will lead a consortium, including Chinese investors, to build the long-mooted Hinkley Point C plant at Somerset.
Hinkley C will be built by EDF, the firm holding a 45-50 per cent stake in the scheme. A further 30-40 per cent is held by the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN), while another 10 per cent is held by French engineering company Aveva.
Subject to a final investment decision, key contract terms for the four chief suppliers to the project have been finalised. These are with Alstom for turbines; Areva for instrumentation and controls, the nuclear steam supply system and fuel; Bouygues TP/Laing O’Rourke for the civil work contract; and Costain for marine work.
The site’s proposed two reactors will offer lower generating costs, it has been claimed, during their operation span of 60 years. The scheme represents the UK coalition government’s shift away from fossil fuels and towards low-carbon energy. It is estimated the plant will cost £16b to construct.
The existing Hinkley plant currently generates around 1% of the UK’s total energy, but this figure is expected to rise to 7% once Hinkley C is complete in 2023. Construction of the new plant is expected to create around 25,000 jobs, with 900 permanent jobs forecast for the site’s 60-year operation.