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France's EDF gets green light for UK nuclear power plant
An EDF image of what Hinkley Point C would look like. Photo: AFP

France's EDF gets green light for UK nuclear power plant

AFP · 15 Sep 2016, 09:11

Published: 15 Sep 2016 09:11 GMT+02:00

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The British government has told France it is giving conditional approval for the controversial nuclear power project at
Hinkley Point.

We have decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power plant in a generation," Business Secretary Greg Clark said in a statement, adding that new measures would be brought in to "enhance security".

The board of French state-owned power company EDF approved its participation in the project in southwest England on July 28, only for Britain's new government under Prime Minister Theresa May to announce hours later that it wanted to review it and would make a decision in several months.

That decision has now been delivered to Paris with a conditional green light, the UK government confirmed on Thursday.

The £18 billion project ($23.6 billion, 21.2 billion euro) plan to build Britain's first new nuclear reactors in decades has the strong backing of the French state, which owns 85 percent of EDF and sees the project as crucial for the long-term viability of France's nuclear industry.

China has a one-third stake in Hinkley Point, and analysts have warned that Britain risked its relations with the emerging Asian giant if it cancelled the costly deal.

The reactors will cover up to seven percent of Britain's electricity needs while helping the government meet its emissions targets to combat climate change.

Story continues below…

But British support was mixed, and criticism has focused on the growing difference between an electricity price guarantee for EDF, subsidised by the British taxpayer, and current falling energy prices.

There have also been national security concerns about China's involvement in the project.

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