Hinkley Point C, the nuclear power plant which China, France, and UK are all involved, was finally approved by the UK government. As a demonstration of the Chinese nuclear industry on the global stage, this £18 billion project has a wild attention from not only the nuclear industry but also many other fields.
Recently after the approval of the government, the parliament of the United Kingdom had a debate on Hinkley Point C project, to analyse the benefit for UK and its residents from this nuclear project.
First of all, there are three changes of the policy that France (EDF) and China (CGN) need to accept before the construction of the power plant eventually start. Firstly, after Hinkley, the British Government will take a special share in all future nuclear new build projects. Secondly, the Office for Nuclear Regulation in UK will be directed to require notice from developers or operators of nuclear sites of any change of ownership or part-ownership. Thirdly, the UK Government will significantly reform its approach to the ownership and control of critical infrastructure to ensure that the full implications of foreign ownership are scrutinised for the purposes of national security. These changes will definitely increase the intervention from the UK government in the future nuclear power projects, which the UK will remain one of the most open economies in the world, the public can be confident that foreign direct investment works in the country’s best interests.
For the United Kingdom, it isn’t required to pay any until the nuclear power plant commence to produce electricity. This £18 billion investment in Britain provides an upgrade in our supply of clean energy. When it begins producing electricity in the middle of the next decade it will provide 7% of the UK’s electricity needs; giving secure energy to 6 million homes for 60 years. Besides, all the construction risk will be on the investors which means EDF and CGN but UK according to the contract.
Hinkley unleashes a long overdue new wave of investment in nuclear engineering in the UK, creating 26,000 jobs and apprenticeships and providing a huge boost to the economy, not only in the South West, but in every part of the country through the supply chain of firms, big and small, that will benefit from the investment. EDF have also confirmed that UK businesses are set to secure 64% of the value of the £18 billion investment being made, which is the biggest single capital project in the UK today.
Britain needs to upgrade its supplies of energy, and we have always been clear that nuclear is an important part of ensuring our future low-carbon energy security. The Government is committed to ensuring the country has a secure low carbon energy supply. Hinkley Point C will be a critical part of that, and will inaugurate a new era of UK nuclear power – building on Britain’s strong nuclear legacy. Currently, the UK has eight nuclear power stations which generate around 20% of power in the UK. Almost all of these existing power stations are due to close by 2030. This underlines why the Government needs to take decisions now on how we will ensure we have sufficient and diverse supply fit for future generations.
About the security which is most concerned by the public, the construction of Hinkley Point C will be under the close scrutiny of the Office for Nuclear Regulation – which is independent of the industry and of ministers. The Office for Nuclear Regulation has the power necessary to halt construction or require amendments to any part of the plant if at any point it is not completely satisfied with the safety of any part of the reactor and its associated construction.
As we can see, it is obviously good but harm to the United Kingdom of this nuclear project. I believe the government made the decision after a cautious consideration and saw the benefits. This is, as I said in my post last year when I first heard the news: Hinkley Point C is a Triple Win to UK, France, and China.
The international cooperation in the nuclear industry will be discussed during the 5th edition of Asia Nuclear Business Platform next May. For more information on this industry gathering, email [email protected]