The U.K. government has officially given the go-ahead for the construction of a new nuclear reactor.
France's EDF Energy will lead a consortium -- backed by Chinese investors -- to build the first new nuclear reactor in years. Two reactors, part of the Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset, are meant to provide power for 60 years.
While government officials say the plant will lower generating costs, critics say that as the plant is being built based on strike prices rather than taxpayer funds, consumer bills will rise. Secretary of State for Energy Edward Davey told the BBC:
"For the first time, a nuclear station in this country will not have been built with money from the British taxpayer. If the electricity price is below the strike price, then bills will probably go up. If it is above the strike price, then bills could go down."
A year of talks have surrounded the minimum price the companies involved will be paid for the electricity, and both the consortium and government have agreed on a strike price of £92.50 per megawatt hour.
Hinkley Point C is expected to take ten years to build, and will join the Hinkley Point A and B plants. Around 25,000 jobs will be created through the construction.
Chinese firms China National Nuclear Corporation and China General Nuclear Power Corp will be minor shareholders in the scheme.
The announcement is not legally binding, and it will be next year that EDF makes a final investment decision before the European Commission decides whether to permit the project to go ahead.
Setting the British stage for Chinese nuclear:
- U.K. comes closer to multibillion pound nuclear reactor deal
- China syndrome: Chinese companies bid for UK nuclear plants
- Could China run Britain’s next nuclear reactor?
One of many “alternative nuclear” initiatives in China:
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