Published: February 19, 2012
Hinkley Point expansion steps closer after PM signs deal with French

The clearest indication yet that the expansion of Hinkley Point near Burnham-On-Sea will go ahead was signalled on Friday when Britain and France signed a landmark agreement to co-operate on civil nuclear energy.

David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy signed up to a strengthening of co-operation over civil nuclear energy, which the PM said would create a number of commercial deals worth more than £500m and create over 1,500 UK jobs - including many with the building of Hinkley Point C.

Welcoming the news, the leader of Somerset County Council, Cllr Ken Maddock, said: "Somerset is at the forefront of the UK’s new nuclear development and we see this closer working relationship as a very positive step forward. The proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is an important project for our county and we intend to maximise any opportunities this may bring to the area."

"There are some issues still be worked out with EDF on the detail of proposals for Hinkley Point C, but we remain committed to working with them to deliver the project in time to meet the national energy gap, which also delivers economic growth locally."

However, Paul Steedman of Friends of the Earth, said: "Cameron's deal will leave British taxpayers footing a massive bill for new nuclear plants we don't need and can't afford while EDF continues to rake in huge profits."

"Billions of pounds have already been spent subsidising nuclear – and dealing with nuclear waste is expected to cost many billions more. Meanwhile, solar panels and wind turbines are becoming more affordable; they are clean and tested alternatives we know could provide tens of thousands of new jobs with the right Government support."

The Stop Hinkley campaign group and other anti-nuclear groups will be holding a human chain around Hinkley B power station on 10th March to commemorate one year since Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Pictured: Top, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy at Friday's announcement (pic: BBC) and, above, an artist's drawing of Hinkley Point C


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