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Hinkley Point Approved

Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, the first nuclear reactor to be build in two decades, has today been given the go-ahead by prime minister Theresa May, ending lengthy delays amid discussion about Chinese involvement in the UK's nuclear industry.

Criticised over projected costs and national security concerns, it has been confirmed that the £18b Somerset plant will proceed after a new agreement has been made with French company EDF.

Although Hinkley Point has been approved, the government has made it clear that a new foreign investment framework will come into force in future decisions:

“Following a comprehensive review of the Hinkley Point C project, and a revised agreement with EDF, the government has decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation. However, ministers will impose a new legal framework for future foreign investment in Britain’s critical infrastructure, which will include nuclear energy and apply after Hinkley.”

This has lead speculation that while China will be allowed to proceed with its multi-billion Hinkley Point investment, restrictions may be placed on China's investment in developing plants at Bradwell and Sizewell. It is thought that these changes will affect ownership and control of critical infrastructure in these types of project in order for them to be scrutinised for national security implications.

The revised agreement allows the government to prevent the sale of EDF's controlling stake prior to the completion of construction without prior notification and agreement of ministers.

Business secretary Greg Clark stated: “Having thoroughly reviewed the proposal for Hinkley Point C, we will introduce a series of measures to enhance security and will ensure Hinkley cannot change hands without the government’s agreement. Consequently, we have decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation.

“Britain needs to upgrade its supplies of energy, and we have always been clear that nuclear is an important part of ensuring our future low-carbon energy security.”

© 2016 Nuclear Institute