George Osborne has insisted new nuclear power stations are essential to make sure the lights stay on, as he gave the go-ahead to the initial government guarantee for the first such plant in Britain for 20 years.
While on a five day tour of China, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the new government guarantee, provided by Infrastructure UK, for a new nuclear power station planned for Hinkley Point C in Somerset.
The initial deal is set to be worth around £2 billion and will pave the way for a final investment decision by energy company EDF, supported by China General Nuclear Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation, later this year, and with further amounts potentially available in the longer-term.
The construction and operation of Hinkley Point C will create thousands of jobs in Somerset and more widely in the nuclear industry across the UK, as well as boosting Britain’s energy security.
The new plant is expected to produce enough energy to supply seven per cent of the country’s needs, powering around six million homes.
It is also expected to open the door to unprecedented collaboration in the UK and China on the construction of new nuclear power stations.
Chancellor George Osborne said: “Britain was the home to the very first civil nuclear power stations in the world and I am determined that we now lead the way again.
“So I am delighted to announce this guarantee for Hinkley Point today and to be in China to discuss their investments in Britain’s nuclear industry.
“It is another move forward for the golden relationship between Britain and China – the world’s oldest civil nuclear power and the world’s fastest growing civil nuclear power.”
Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said: “We will continue to work with EDF to finalise the Hinkley deal, which will power nearly six million homes and create more than 25,000 jobs – providing more financial security for working people and their families as we transition to a low-carbon future.”