UK to Build First British Nuclear Plant in Decades

UK to Build First British Nuclear Plant in Decades

This Thursday the British government said yes to building a nuclear power station that will be financed by the Chinese. The news comes after long negotiations.

The deal has been covered by the media, since it raises concerns regarding Britain’s energy future. It is a matter regarding the security of the UK’s energy supply.

The nuclear plant that we are talking about goes by the name of Hinkley Point C. The proposal for the plant estimates costs to be around $24 billion. This will be the first nuclear plant built in the UK in decades.

Planning a Nuclear Plant

The project for the nuclear plant was a favorite of former Prime Minister, David Cameron. During his time in office, he pushed for the government to say yes to building Hinkley Point C. The Prime Minister believed that the nuclear plant would offer Britain a critical source of energy. That would also have the advantage of it being carbon-free. Also, Cameron was a supporter of the project because he believed it would bring a positive change in relations with China.

David Cameron stepped down as Prime Minister in June, after the Brexit vote. So many of his favorite projects remained up in the air. This particular one was very close to being finalized at the time that Cameron left 10 Downing Street. And there were expectations that the deal would go on regardless.

However, after Theresa May took over as Prime Minister in July things changed. Just days after moving into Downing Street she announced that she wants to review the plan. And that she wants to see a fresh take on the project. Despite everyone being ready to sign off on the deal.

Theresa May asking for a pause meant that many who were ready to celebrate had to put their plans on hold. But it also made everyone concerned that the project would never take off. After all, would the new Prime Minister allow for the Hinkley Point C project to go ahead?

As expected, the reaction from the Chinese was not a positive one. Veiled remarks were made that hinted at the possibility of deteriorating relations between the two countries.

This Thursday there was good news. Downing Street said that the project would indeed proceed. But that there were new conditions attached to it.

New Strings Attached

The statement from the UK government said that it had done a comprehensive review of the project to build Hinkley Point C. It also stated that it had revised the agreement with French group EDF. The French energy giant is going to build the nuclear power plant.

The statement warned that there will be a new legal framework for foreign investments to Britain’s infrastructure. The provisions will include regulations for nuclear energy and will apply after Hinkley.

The new provisions will hopefully help quiet criticism. Many have expressed concern with the Chinese financing a third of the cost of building the nuclear power plant. That would mean one of China’s state-run companies having a stake in Britain’s energy infrastructure.


Image source: Wikipedia.