Government approves new Nuclear Reactor

The first new nuclear reactor for a generation was given planning permission today.

In a huge boost for Britain's nuclear renaissance, Energy Secretary Ed Davey told the House of Commons that he was granting planning consent for French energy giant EDF to construct a third generation power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

The proposed £14bn power plant would be capable of powering five million homes.

The last nuclear plant built in the UK was Sizewell B in Suffolk. Building work for the plant, near Leiston, began in 1988 and it started operating seven years later.

The proposal had cross party support in the House of Commons and was welcomed by the trade unions, with  Unite's national officer for energy Kevin Coyne describing the decision to grant consent was a "massive boost for jobs". Hinkley C will be one of the UK's biggest infrastructure projects for years with 5,600 workers on site at the peak of construction.

Mr Davey told the Commons: "The planning decision to give consent to Hinkley Point follows a rigorous examination from the Planning Inspectorate, and detailed analysis within my department.

"This planned project adds to a number of new energy projects consented since May 2010, including wind farms and biomass and gas-fired power stations.

"It will benefit the local economy, through direct employment, the supply chain and the use of local services."

The news is a boost to the nuclear industry as it represents a resumption in badly needed plans to construct a new fleet of reactors in the UK, which ministers say are needed to cut carbon and keep the lights on.


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