New nuclear power station gets approval

March 30, 2013 at 9:04 am

The energy secretary, Ed Davey, has given EDF permission to construct a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. It will be the first new power station in a generation. The last power station to be opened was Sizewell B in 1995.

Two nuclear reactors will be built at the site, and the new power station will replace the current station, which will close in a decade. Davey said that it will “generate vast amounts of clean energy” and will “enhance our energy security” as well as benefiting the local economy.

The two reactors will each produce 1.6GW of power, making the power plant one of the largest in the UK. It is expected to provide power for up to five million homes. It could be the first of many nuclear power plants to be built over the next few years, as older coal and nuclear power plants are replaced.

However, an agreement on the amount of subsidies EDF will receive from the government is still being negotiated. EDF wants a guaranteed amount of money for every megawatt hour it produces during the lifetime of the plant, and the figure being negotiated is thought to be in the region of £100. Discussions are also continuing in relation to how much the company will have to pay for storing the nuclear waste that the plant produces.

As expected, the decision to give the go-ahead to a new generation of nuclear power has its critics. Many environmental groups want to see more focus on renewable energy, claiming that the cost of nuclear power keeps on rising.

However, others are seeing the announcement as a positive step in the UK’s attempts to reduce its carbon footprint and increase energy security.

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