By Daniel Hunter
The UK Government and EDF Group have reached commercial agreement on the key terms of a proposed investment contract for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset.
This paves the way for the construction of the first new nuclear power station in the UK in a generation. It will provide a stable source of clean power from 2023, generating enough electricity to power nearly 6 million homes or an area twice the size of London.
Hinkley Point C (HPC) will be the first new nuclear power station to be built since Sizewell B, which started generating electricity in 1995. It will begin the process of replacing the existing fleet of nuclear stations, most of which are due to close in the 2020s. Once built, it will provide a clean source of home-grown energy, helping to keep the lights on, cut emissions and reduce consumer bills over the long-term.
EDF Group and other investors will be responsible for funding this project. Consumers will pay for the electricity it generates from 2023 through their bills. Building a new fleet of nuclear power stations could reduce bills by more than £75 a year in 2030, compared to a future where nuclear is not part of the energy mix.
The Government will ensure that the operator of Hinkley Point C will be responsible for the full costs of decommissioning and its share of the costs of waste management.
John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: "This is a landmark deal which will help us meet our future energy challenges, while boosting jobs and growth.
"New nuclear plants must be a fundamental feature of our future energy landscape, and Hinkley Point C is the starter gun to securing the investment we need.
"Amid understandable public concern about rising bills, it's important to remember this investment will help mitigate the impact of increasing costs. The fact is whatever we do, energy prices are going to have to go up to replace ageing infrastructure and meet climate change targets - unless we build new nuclear as part of a diverse energy mix.”
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