The government has announced plans to review the go-ahead of Hinkley Point nuclear plant just hours after French energy firm EDF approved final investment of the project.
On Thursday this week, members of EDF’s board voted in favour of constructing the £18 billion nuclear facility in Somerset. Once operational, the plant will supply roughly 7% of the UK’s energy needs.
However, business secretary Greg Clark said the government will now carefully consider the project before backing it. A decision is expected in the autumn.
Theresa May's decision to review the go-ahead on Hinkley Point C is bewildering and bonkers
Justin Bowden, GMB national secretary for energy
Tom Greatrex, chief executive officer of the Nuclear Industry Association, has urged the government to make a quick decision.
“The government’s decision to take longer to look at the contract do not change the fundamentals – that by 2030, two thirds of our electricity generation capacity will have retired, and we need to replace it with low carbon and reliable power for the future to improve our energy security and meet our commitments on carbon emissions targets,” he said.
He added that it is important to remember that EDF and its investors have the finances in place to execute the project.
“We now need the new ministers to quickly endorse the decision to show they are serious about industrial strategy.”
Energy and engineering union GMB has condemned the government’s last-minute delay as “a gross error of judgment that puts thousands jobs at risk”.
Justin Bowden, GMB national secretary for energy, said: “Theresa May's decision to review the go-ahead on Hinkley Point C is bewildering and bonkers. After years of procrastination, what is required is decisive action not dithering and more delay."
The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), meanwhile, has expressed "grave concern" at the UK government’s last minute review of the contract with EDF.
IChemE director Andy Furlong said: “Chemical engineers were delighted when EDF made their announcement last night. But within hours we lost all certainty on the direction of travel."
He also said the engineering community was in a state of paralysis.
"We cannot make proper decisions around design, procurement and construction timelines. Neither can we get to work on the education, training and skills issues that will need to be resolved to support a complex supply chain that has the potential to create more than 25,000 jobs, including many roles for chemical and process engineers," Furlong added.
There are no comments on this article, leave a comment below to have your say