Hinkley ‘an opportunity to build more nuclear stations’

Hinkley Point C is a very good deal for the UK and an opportunity to build a fleet of new nuclear stations in the country. That’s according to Energy Minister […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

Hinkley Point C is a very good deal for the UK and an opportunity to build a fleet of new nuclear stations in the country.

That’s according to Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom, who said “good progress” is being made so the project can provide clean, secure and affordable energy.

The government is investing £2 billion in the project initially and China £6 billion.

She said: “Some people ask ‘is Hinkley a good deal for consumers?’ I believe it is. We have made sure that consumers won’t pay a penny for electricity until the plant is generating and so the risks during construction are with the developer.”

Ms Leadsom added Hinkley will “blaze a trial” for further nuclear projects.

She went on: “Industry has set out proposals to develop 18GW of new nuclear power in the UK at six sites – Hinkley Point, Sizewell, Bradwell, Moorside, Wylfa and Oldbury. This pipeline could deliver around a third of the electricity we will need in the 2030s, reduce our carbon emissions by more than 40 million tonnes, bring an estimated £80 billion of investment into the UK and employ up to 30,000 people across the new nuclear supply chain at the peak of construction.”

The Energy Minister insisted new nuclear has “a crucial role to play” as the UK makes the transition to a low-carbon economy and secure energy supply.

She said: “Without new nuclear build, the share of generation from nuclear could dip to 3% in 2030. This would reduce the diversity of our energy supplies and would almost certainly make achieving our goals to cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions far more challenging and more expensive.”

The government is also investing in small nuclear reactors as Chancellor George Osborne announced in the last Budget.

Ms Leadsom added: “The opportunities for UK business are already there and are growing fast and the potential for the UK to be at the forefront of the next generation of nuclear that this government is determined to seize.”

According to Energy Secretary Amber Rudd, a delay or cancellation of the Hinkley project could lead to an increase in energy bills and jeopardise the nation’s decarbonisation targets.