Contract signed for new nuclear power station on Somerset coast (Hinkley C)

The Guardian reports, 20th October 2013: “Britain is to embark on building its first nuclear power station for two decades on as the coalition government hands a multibillion subsidy to France’s EDF (Electricite de France) with help from a state-owned Chinese firm.

Hinkley Point nuclear power station

The new reactors at Hinkley Point C will be capable of producing 7% of the UK’s electricity.
Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

The two planned pressurised water reactors at Hinkley Point C, Somerset, are the first to start construction in Europe since Japan’s Fukushima disaster and the first in the UK since the Sizewell B power station (Suffolk coast) came online in 1995. The new reactors, which will cost £14bn, are due to start operating in 2023 if constructed on time and will run for 35 years. They will be capable of producing 7% of the UK’s electricity — equivalent to the amount used by 5m homes.

Britain is taking a sharply different route to Germany, which has decided to phase out nuclear power, and Italy, which has scrapped a planned nuclear programme. France, traditionally the nuclear enthusiast, has pledged to cut atomic power to 50% of its electricity mix from 75% today.

The strike price — the guaranteed rate to be paid for electricity produced at the Somerset site — will be announced as £92.50 per megawatt hour on Monday, following two years of complex negotiations. That is nearly twice the market price of energy. The price is guaranteed for 35 years and will rise in line with inflation.

EDF’s longtime partner, China General Nuclear Power Group, possibly in combination with China National Nuclear Corporation, is expected to have a 30% to 40% stake in the consortium, with Areva taking another 10%, according to French weekend newspaper reports. The deal is thought to provide a 10% return on EDF’s investment.

Source: The Guardian, 20th October 2013. For the full text, see:

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