The prospect of a third nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset came one step closer to reality today as EDF Energy was granted a nuclear site licence (NSL).
This means the UK’s nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) believes the French supplier has developed the right organisation, management structure, plans and procedures needed to build and operate the proposed new nuclear power station.
EDF Energy, which supplies gas and electricity to more than 5.5 million homes and businesses, must wait for full planning consent to crack on with the building: both the ONR and the Planning Inspectorate need to give final permission for this.
Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, EDF Energy’s Managing Director of Nuclear New Build said: “The Nuclear Site Licence serves as a vote of confidence in EDF Energy’s ability to deliver new nuclear. Following recent confirmation by the joint regulator that the EPR reactor design is on course for approval later this year, the award of the Nuclear Site Licence serves as further evidence of the strong momentum behind our new nuclear plans.”
The project will be on a similar in scale to the London Olympics and EDF Energy has been waiting for the full Energy Bill to decide whether to go ahead with it. The Bill will dictate the amount of money available for low carbon energy with the so-called ‘strike price’ of the Contracts for Difference mechanism – seen as crucial for costly nuclear power.
Mr Cadoux- Hudson added: “We remain focused on putting the components in place that will enable a final investment decision to be made at the earliest possible date. This includes working with Government to agree a Contract for Difference that is in the best interests of both consumers and investors.”