Nuclear sector celebrates UK’s approval for Hinkley

The nuclear industry has welcomed the UK Government’s decision to approve the Hinkley Point C nuclear project. In July, Theresa May delayed the final go-ahead of the first UK nuclear […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

The nuclear industry has welcomed the UK Government’s decision to approve the Hinkley Point C nuclear project.

In July, Theresa May delayed the final go-ahead of the first UK nuclear site for a generation to be built in Somerset.

The approval follows a “new agreement” with EDF, with “significant new safeguards” imposed by ministers under a new legal framework for future foreign investment.

World Nuclear Association’s Chairman Helmut Engelbrecht thanked the government for the go-ahead.

He told ELN: “The UK has a very good experience in nuclear power, they have been operating since the 1950s and the country has really benefited from that tremendously. Every old technology has to be replaced at some time. Hinkley is the first one to replace old power stations and I think it is a wise decision to do so and I hope it will be a successful project and will certainly lead the way for the others to mirror them and do the same.

“I understand that the new government needed to review the terms and the conditions of that and I have to compliment them they have done it within the time scale they predicted so that is actually an encouraging signal. Thank you for that government.”

William Magwood, Director General at the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) believes approving Hinkley “makes a lot of sense” and the UK is “trying to show leadership” in this area.

Speaking to ELN, he added: “I’ve been in touch with people in the British Government a lot over the last couple of years and there’s a lot of excitement from the government and in the country overall about the potential of nuclear to deal with the electricity issues in the country over the long term.”

Hae Ryong Hwang, Senior Vice President at New Growth Technology Strategy Department at Korean firm Icepco said other countries could follow the UK, boosting co-operation between countries and increasing nuclear capacity globally.

However, Aaron Michelin, Chairman of resource management company Enersense doesn’t believe other countries in Europe will follow the UK’s example, specifying the state aid provided for Hinkley which has raised concerns.

But he added: “Definitely any good news for the industry is now good because the world is struggling, Europe is struggling, even Britain is struggling so it is finally good news to get investment in big industrial projects that can help us all.”