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EDF board approve Hinkley Point C

Words: Laura Edgar
Illustrative view of twin reactors Hinkley Point C

The board for French company EDF has approved the £18 billion Hinkley Point C, with the UK Government now set to consider the proposals for the power plant.

A decision is expected in the autumn.

EDF is financing the majority of the nuclear project, which would be located in Somerset.

At a meeting on 28 July, EDF’s board of directors made the final investment decision and gave the president the authorisation to “ensure its full execution in the framework of the signature process of all the contracts and agreements necessary to build the two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C".

However, energy secretary Greg Clark said in a statement: "The UK needs a reliable and secure energy supply and the government believes that nuclear energy is an important part of the mix.

“The government will now consider carefully all the component parts of this project and make its decision in the early autumn.”

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “The government’s decision to take longer to look at the contract do not change the fundamentals – that by 2030, two-thirds of our electricity generation capacity will have retired, and we need to replace it with low carbon and reliable power for the future to improve our energy security and meet our commitments on carbon emissions targets.”

He said the most important thing is that the EDF board and its investors have the finance in place to enable them to give the project the go-ahead.

“We have a strong UK supply chain which has built up its capability and has trained people so they are able to build and operate Hinkley Point C.”

Greatrex said ministers need to “quickly endorse” the decision to show that they are “serious” about industrial strategy and building new infrastructure by “securing inward investment to create our low carbon energy supplies of the future”.

Critics of the project are concerned about damage to the environment and potential escalating costs.

Earlier this week, EDF shareholders approved plans to issue new shares to raise €4 billion to help pay for the project. Following this, board member Gerard Magnin resigned, stating that financially, the project was “very risky”. 

The nuclear power station would be the first in Britain since Sizewell B opened in 1995.

Image credit | EDF