The government has said that the new plant will provide enough electricity to power close to 6 million homes, create 900 permanent jobs and a further 25,000 jobs during construction.
The power plant will be built with funding from French energy company EDF as well as two Chinese organisations. It is expected to be operational in 2023.
Hinkley deal ‘marks the next generation of nuclear power in Britain’
Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the news and said: “Earlier this month I spoke about our new industrial policy that looks to the future, and about our determination to embrace new technologies and back new industries and energy sources so that they can flourish and help us build a rebalanced economy across the country.
“As part of our plan to help Britain succeed, after months of negotiation, today we have a deal for the first nuclear power station in a generation to be built in Britain.
“This deal means £16bn of investment coming into the country and the creation of 25,000 jobs, which is brilliant news for the South West and for the country as a whole. As we compete in the tough global race, this underlines the confidence there is in Britain and makes clear that we are very much open for business.
“This also marks the next generation of nuclear power in Britain, which has an important part to play in contributing to our future energy needs and our longer term security of supply”.
Mixed views on cost to bill payers
A number of critics have questioned the idea that the plant will save consumers money on their energy bills.
Green MP Caroline called the project a “terrible deal” and added: “Instead of locking Britain into this costly and risky technology, the government should be investing seriously in energy efficiency and renewables, the costs of which are rapidly decreasing.
“The government is giving the consortium a guaranteed price for 35 years, but despite decades of subsidy nuclear is becoming increasingly expensive.”
Shadow Energy Secretary, Caroline Flint, who supports nuclear power, claimed the commercial aspect of the deal, which will see output sold at £92.50 per megawatt hour – double the current price of wholesale electricity, would not benefit consumers.
She said: “David Cameron is now in the ridiculous position of saying that they can set prices 35 years ahead for the companies producing nuclear power, while insisting they can’t freeze prices for 20 months for consumers while much-needed reforms are put in place.”