Published:
October 21, 2015
Burnham-On-Sea reacts to £18bn Hinkley Point C deal signing

After years of talks, EDF and the Government have finally unveiled an agreement to build the first UK nuclear power station in a generation with the help of Chinese funding.

The deal for Hinkley Point C near Burnham-On-Sea, was signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister David Cameron, during a state visit to the UK, ends years of negotiation and means the £18 billion reactor should be operational by 2025.

It's set to provide a boost for the national and local economy - creating 25,000 jobs, with at least 5,000 people from Somerset expected to work directly on the project, providing a £40 million boost to the local economy every year.

EDF Energy's share in Hinkley Point C will be 66.5% and its Chinese partner China General Nuclear Corporation's will be 33.5%. Without reducing this initial stake below 50%, EDF says it intends to bring other investors into the project.

Burnham's MP James Heappey welcomed the announcement, saying: "This is fantastic news for Somerset. Hundreds of millions of pounds in investment, tens of thousands of jobs and supply chain opportunities across Somerset and beyond. This will electrify our local economy for decades; requiring the development of new skills and positioning us as the centre of the UK’s civil nuclear industry. The impact on our county will be tremendous."

He added: "And this is a huge step forward for the UK too. Achieving the right energy mix that strikes a balance between security of supply, cost to consumers and environmental impact must have new nuclear as its centrepiece. We must push on with growing our renewables industry and we will need gas fired power stations too but our national base-load will be provided by Hinkley C and the other new nuclear power stations."

Responding to criticism of the cost, Mr Heappey added: "The agreed strike price of £92.50 is certainly not cheap but it is competitive with renewables like off-shore wind and brings a reliability that allows it to operate as our base-load. It is also the first in a series of deals to build new nuclear power stations and, as such, paves the way for cheaper strike prices to be negotiated on further projects."

Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge's Mayor Michael Clarke added: "I think this will be a great benefit to our local economy, generating jobs for people in the Burnham and Highbridge area, both directly and indirectly. It's very good news that a decision on this has finally been made after many years to getting to this stage."

Sedgemoor District Council leader Duncan McGinty said: "We welcome the announcement which represents significant progress for Hinkley Point C which will be the UK's largest engineering and construction project in modern times. Sedgemoor District Council, together with partners, will continue working towards maximising local benefits but being mindful of the mitigating measures that will be required."

"The two local councils of Sedgemoor and West Somerset recognise the responsibility of hosting the resurgence of the UK's nuclear industry and will continue work with both the Government and EDF Energy to ensure that the benefits to their communities are long-lasting."

Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, David Hall, said: "We are massively encouraged by what we see today. It's a clear commitment from both parties to move this £18bn, once in a generation project forward. We have worked closely with Government, educational and private businesses locally, regionally and nationally to get to this point and we are looking forward to the lasting legacy the development is set to bring."

"The development presents a massive opportunity for Somerset and the South West region. Hinkley Point C is expected to provide 25,000 jobs during construction 900 jobs in its planned 60 year operating life with at least 5,000 people from Somerset expected to work directly on the project – an immeasurable benefit for the local economy. Hinkley Point C looks set to kick start the national nuclear renaissance and will be the catalyst for economic growth in Somerset and the wider South West region."

Chris Langdon, who leads Somerset Chamber oif Trade’s Hinkley Supply Chain Team, said: "This latest announcement is another very positive step towards a Final Investment Decision for Hinkley Point C. Once we reach that point, the project will begin to generate a significant boost for the local and regional economy, creating a wealth of jobs, investment and other opportunities."

"Despite a short-term lull in activity on-site, the supply chain work has been ongoing behind the scenes with EDF Energy, Tier 1 contractors and suppliers to map and match capabilities with work package requirements."

"The Somerset Chamber and its Hinkley Supply Chain Team will continue to engage with the main contractor requirements so that valuable supply chain connections with Somerset and South West businesses can be made. Having worked in collaboration with EDF Energy and the regional supply chain over the last two years, we were delighted when five local supplier alliances were announced by EDF Energy as the preferred bidders for contracts worth over £225million. We can only promote the Somerset and South West businesses we know about, so for any businesses not yet registered who want to get involved in the project, we would strongly recommend they register on the Hinkley supply chain as soon as possible."

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said: "We are tackling a legacy of under-investment and building energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century as part of our plan to provide the clean, affordable and secure energy that hardworking families and businesses across the country can rely on now and in the future."

"The UK is open for business and this is a good deal for everyone – Hinkley Point C will continue to meet our robust safety regulations and will power nearly six million households with low-carbon energy, creating over 25,000 jobs and more financial security for working people and their families."

Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy said: "Hinkley Point C and successive nuclear projects will guarantee the UK the reliable, secure low carbon electricity it needs in the future. Nuclear power will save customers money compared with other energy options and provide a huge boost to British industrial strength, jobs and skills both in Britain and abroad. Today’s announcements are also good news in the fight against climate change."

Stop Hinkley spokesperson Alan Jeffery said: "Why does George Osborne want to throw good money after bad on this project. In the process, he has devastated the UK’s burgeoning renewable energy industry, threatening up to 20,000 jobs in the process. He is doing his best to kill off an innovative industry of the future in order to keep alive a technology of the past. It makes about as much sense as funding a telegram service whilst killing off the mobile phone industry."

"Going cap in hand to a country with such a lamentable human rights and health and safety record is bad enough, but doing so to fund the biggest white elephant in history and kill off the industry which offers the UK’s best hope of tackling climate change is just insane. Surely it must only be a matter of time before this crazy scheme collapses under the weight of argument."

 


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