The UK government has given the go-ahead for Hinkley Point C, the country’s first new nuclear power station for a generation.
The decision follows EDF’s investment decision in July. Following a review of the project, the government says it has reached an agreement in principle with EDF, and will impose a new legal framework for future foreign investment in nuclear power stations and other critical infrastructure.
Mike Tynan, The University of Sheffield’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) chief executive officer, commented: “This is a landmark decision by British government and demonstrates a real commitment to the future of civil nuclear power in the UK.
“I very much welcome the government commitment to take a specific stakeholder interest in nuclear new build projects. I’m certain that this will provide additional confidence to project developers and maintain momentum on projects for new nuclear power stations on Anglesey in Wales, and in West Cumbria.
“The creation of thousands of jobs in the nuclear industry and its supply chain represents lasting economic value for the UK and is good news on both a regional and national basis. Our challenge now is to support project developers and their supply chains to ensure that these new power stations are built safely, and to time and cost. I very much look forward to electricity on the grid from EDF Hinkley Point C in the mid-2020s.”
The agreement in principle means that the UK government will 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. Existing legal powers, and the new legal framework, will mean that the government is able to intervene in the sale of EDF’s stake once Hinkley is operational.
The new legal framework for future foreign investment in British critical infrastructure means that, after Hinkley Point C, the UK government will take a special share in all future nuclear new build projects. This will ensure that significant stakes cannot be sold without the government’s knowledge or consent.
The Office for Nuclear Regulation will also be directed to require notice from developers or operators of nuclear sites of any change of ownership or part-ownership.
The government says these changes will bring Britain’s policy framework for the ownership and control of critical infrastructure into line with other major economies.
The University of Sheffield’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) is a collaboration of academic and industrial partners from across the civil nuclear manufacturing supply chain, with the mission of helping UK manufacturers win work at home and worldwide.