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expert reaction to announcement of new nuclear build at Hinkley Point

The government announced the UK’s first new nuclear station in a generation will be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset by a consortium lead by EDF Energy.

 

Sir John Parker GBE FREng, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:

“I welcome the decision announced today to proceed with a new generation of nuclear power, which is critical to long term energy security and a key contributor to meeting our carbon reduction commitments. The employment prospects for construction, engineering and services will be significant and welcome. This is good news for the UK and good news for engineering.”

 

Prof Dame Sue Ion, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:

“Energy Security is fundamental to National Security and the UK is embarking on a massive programme of refreshment and renewal of our ageing energy infrastructure which has to be paid for as it does not come out of general taxation. Whilst this announcement on new nuclear stations is welcome we would do well to recall that this is already some two years later than originally foreseen – and similar delays are being experienced in the drive to deliver significantly enhanced offshore wind generation.

“Last week’s Royal Academy of Engineering report GB electricity capacity margin says ‘The lead times associated with closing, mothballing, reopening or building plant are such that decisions taken during a period of uncertainty can have long ramifications. Thus even a temporary interruption of clear market signals, if it occurs at a critical investment decision point, may have disproportionate effects.’

“The UK’s utility sector is dominated by overseas companies with supervisory boards making decisions on an international basis. Uncertainties in the stability of the power generation sector in the UK do nothing to secure confidence in the UK as an appropriate market in which to invest.

The Academy’s Generating the future report three years ago highlighted the challenges ahead and the massive investment that would be required to meet energy security and decarbonisation targets in the UK’s electricity generating mix.”

 

Dr Paul Norman from the Nuclear Physics Group at the University of Birmingham said:

“The announcement and confirmation that EDF Energy will build at Hinkley Point is an essential step towards the UK achieving a low carbon, diverse mix of electricity generation which can last until the middle of this century and beyond. EDF partnership with China should also be a positive move, both financially and in terms of helping to keep the project to time and to price – whilst some reactor projects have been known for delays and prices rises, two of this same reactor type are currently being built at Taishan in China, and are both to time and to budget”.

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