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UK Expected to Approve First of Many New Nuclear Plants Today

Ed Davey, the UKs Energy Secretary, is expected to give the go ahead later today to approve the first of a string of new nuclear reactors planned for construction in the UK over the next few years.

The announcement would grant consent for a new nuclear power plant to be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The sites two nuclear reactors would be able to supply the UK with 7% of its electricity needs, and provide power to over 5 million households.

Once the decision has been made the last hurdle that remains will be the strike price which must be negotiated between the government and the power plants investors. The strike price refers to the price of electricity that the nuclear power plant owners will be paid over the term of a long term contract. It is part of the electricity market reforms to encourage investors to support low carbon projects such as wind farms and nuclear power plants that may have high initial capital costs.

Kevin Coyne, the national officer for the Unite union, is very excited about the prospect of a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, stating that, “The construction of Hinkley Point C will create thousands of skilled construction jobs for the next five years, and around 800 jobs in the operation of the power station over the next 60 years.

Related article: MIT Develops Meltdown-Proof, Nuclear Waste-Eating Reactor

We hope Hinkley Point C is just the first in a fleet of new nuclear power stations which would create jobs in construction for the next 20 years. Nuclear is a crucial part of a balanced energy policy, to stop lights going out.”

John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace, on the other hand is not so thrilled. He claims that, “it will lock a generation of consumers into higher energy bills, via a strike price that's expected to be double the current price of electricity.

With companies now saying the price of offshore wind will drop so much it will be on par with nuclear by 2020, there is no rationale for allowing Hinkley C to proceed.”

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com



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