EDF Energy hails Hinkley Point nuclear reactor plan's 'landmark achievement'
EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said receiving planning permission for the project was “a huge achievement” representing years of hard work.
“This decision sets up a huge opportunity for this project to provide enormous benefits to the UK in jobs, skills, cutting carbon emissions and future energy security.”
But he urged that to make the opportunity a reality there was a need to reach agreement swiftly on the “contract for difference” that will set out the guaranteed price paid for the electricity generated.
“It must offer a fair and balanced deal for consumers and investors. Intensive discussions with the Government are taking place and agreement is still possible,” he said.
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“The success of this pioneering project will kick start the new nuclear programme in the UK and is expected to lead to lower costs for successive UK nuclear plants.”
The financial negotiations between the Government and EDF also involve securing agreement on funding by the energy company for decommissioning and onsite waste management, as well as contribution towards long-term geological storage.
Meanwhile the Tory former defence secretary Dr Liam Fox, who represents nearby North Somerset, said: “I congratulate the Government in finally getting the civil nuclear programme moving after too long a period of paralysis in this country, it is vital for our energy security and our low carbon generation.”
But he raised the thorny issue of transmission from Hinkley through 450 kV cables, as opposed to the current 132kV route, saying it would require electricity pylons more than twice the height of current ones.
He said: “Where is the overall green gain if we get green generation but the transmission results in a blight on our environment in some of prettiest parts of the country?”
Mr Davey replied he previously undertook to look into this issue during a meeting with Dr Fox.
Lib Dem Martin Horwood, Cheltenham, also raised the issue of costs and asked for confirmation that the planning decision did not actually represent a decision to go ahead with Hinkley C.
Mr Davey said the decision today was purely about planning, but he said the price negotiations are ongoing.