Hinkley boost could be ‘immeasurable’

Hinkley Point (Picture: HayesDavidson).

Hinkley Point (Picture: HayesDavidson). - Credit: Archant

A ‘CLEAR commitment’ to building the £18billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station was demonstrated this week – a move which provoked a surge of economic optimism across Somerset.

Prospects of a third reactor at the plant, near to Bridgwater, had appeared to waver in recent months, with uncertainty over funding and an EU legal challenge threatening to de-rail the project before it was fully under way.

However, EDF Energy and its Chinese parter China General Nuclear Corporation this week signed a strategic investment agreement, described by experts as demonstrating ‘a clear intent from both parties to deliver the first new nuclear power station in the UK for a generation’.

With the project expected to lead to enormous financial benefits to firms all across the region, the move has been welcomed by leaders within both public and private sectors.

Somerset County Council’s deputy leader David Hall said he was ‘massively encouraged’ by the news, and added: “The development presents a massive opportunity for Somerset and the South West region.

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“Hinkley Point C is expected to provide 25,000 jobs during construction and 900 jobs in its planned 60-year operating life, with at least 5,000 people from Somerset expected to work directly on the project – an immeasurable benefit for the local economy.”

Somerset Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the progress.

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Chris Langdon, who leads the group’s Hinkley supply chain team, said the development would boost the regional economy by hundreds of millions of pounds during the construction period, while also helping businesses by improving skill levels in the workforce and attracting high quality firms to the region.

He said: “This latest announcement is another very positive step towards a final investment decision for Hinkley Point C.

“Once we reach that point, the project will begin to generate a significant boost for the local and regional economy, creating a wealth of jobs, investment and other opportunities.”

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