Davey gives greenlight to new nuclear at Hinkley
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The energy secretary has granted planning permission for two nuclear reactors to be built at Hinkley Point. The new plant will be the first nuclear power station in the UK since 1995
In outlining his decision to back the plant, Ed Davey acknowledged that many people “profoundly disagreed” with the government’s support of nuclear energy, but concluded that the benefits of the low-carbon technology outweighed its negative impacts.
A new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset would create up to 25,000 jobs during its construction and 900 permanent jobs, and would make a “vital contribution to the achievement of energy and climate change policy objectives, which are of crucial importance,” wrote Davey in his decision letter.
NNB Generation, a subsidiary of French-owned energy company EDF, will operate the plant, which will be one of the largest in the UK with a capacity to generate 3.2GW of electricity – enough to power five million homes.
“This planned new nuclear power station will generate vast amounts of clean energy and enhance our energy security,” claimed Davey in announcing his decision. “It’s vital to get investment in new infrastructure to get the economy moving. Low-carbon energy projects will bring major investment, supporting jobs and driving growth.”
The CBI and EEF both welcomed the announcement, saying it was an important step in diversifying the UK’s energy mix.
“A balanced energy mix is essential in order to ensure secure, low-carbon and affordable supply in the future, and new nuclear is a key part of this,” commented Katja Hall, CBI’s chief policy director.
Davey’s decision came two weeks after the parliamentary select committee on energy and climate change warned that meeting the UK’s climate targets was at risk if the government did not take urgent action to back the deployment of nuclear power.
“If new nuclear power stations are not built on time, our legally-binding climate change targets will be extremely challenging and much more expensive to meet,” said Tim Yeo, the chair of the committee.
“The government seems to be crossing its fingers that private companies will deliver a fleet of new nuclear power stations on time and on budget.”
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