Hinkley C recommendation is in but it's a secret for now
Planners have reached their conclusion on whether the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station should go ahead, but the public are to be kept in the dark until the Government makes its decision.
Yesterday, anti-nuclear campaigners condemned the protocol which keeps the recommendation top secret.
The proposed £14 billion new twin reactor plant on the Somerset coast would be the biggest building project in the West for a generation and a big boost to the local economy. But anti-nuclear campaigners say nuclear power, and nuclear waste, is a threat to life and the environment and a deadly legacy to future generations
Commissioners from the Planning Inspectorate spent months deliberating the planning issues last year. Residents, councillors and experts gave evidence at public hearings. A huge amount of information was also submitted in written statements. But unlike a recommendation made by a council, the Inspectorate’s view is not revealed immediately.
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Nikki Clark, of Stop Hinkley, said yesterday: “The secrecy is unsurprising. Secrecy has characterised all of the process around nuclear new build.”
The Inspectorate’s recommendation has now gone to Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, who will make a decision by March 19.
French energy giant EDF which operates the existing Hinkley B nuclear power station has missed the end-of-year deadline by which it had hoped to announce whether to go ahead with the new plant.
Hinkley C’s site licence has been issued, nuclear regulators have approved the design, the engineering company which would build a £30 million temporary jetty to allow building material to be delivered by sea has been selected and 1,000 firms have signed up to become potential suppliers for the project.
EDF is still negotiating with the Government over the Contract for Difference, the long-term deal to guarantee stable revenues for investors in low-carbon energy projects at a fixed level known as a strike price. CDFs lower the cost of borrowing for developers.
When the Energy Bill, which included a framework for CDFs was published last November, EDF Energy Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz said it was “a defining moment for UK energy policy”.
And when the nuclear site licence was approved last month Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, EDF Energy Managing Director of Nuclear New Build, said: “We remain focused on putting the components in place that will enable a final investment decision to be made at the earliest possible date.”