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EDF boss: Review of Hinkley deal 'sensible and logical'

EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivaz has said he is "delighted" at the government's decision to go ahead with the Hinkley project and said its review of the deal was "sensible and very logical".

De Rivaz said that he was pleased to agree with the government that they intend to maintain the major stake in the project and ensure that 64% of their suppliers are from the UK.

"It's very sensible, it is very logical, we are very comfortable with that and we are very pleased to say yes to the government asking us to make this commitment," he said.

But he added that selling their stake in the project is "not at all on the agenda."

He added that Hinkley is a "good deal" for consumers and that it would kick-start other nuclear deals at Sizewell and Bradwell that will be cheaper.

Minister outlines reforms made over Hinkley deal

Reforms over the Hinkley plant will be in place for future nuclear deals. Credit: Reuters

Business and energy minister Greg Clark said reforms to the "wider legal framework" over Hinkley would be in place for future deals involving critical infrastructure in the UK.

He told parliament that reforms include:

  • A 'special share' for the government in all future nuclear new-build projects to ensure significant stakes cannot be sold without the government's knowledge or consent.
  • The Office for Nuclear Regeneration (ONR), independent of government and investors, will require notice from developers and operators about any change of ownership or part ownership which will allow the governmnet to advise or take action to protect issues of national security.
  • A significant reform in the government's approach to the ownership and control of critical infrastructure to ensure that the full implications of foreign ownership are scrutinised for the purposes of national security. This will include a review of the public interest test in the Enterprise Act 2002 and a national security requirement to ensure government approval.

However, Labour suggested the claims relating to the new powers were "window dressing" and that the government already has the ability to intervene in deals relating to the sale of critical infrastructure.

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Consumers 'won't pay a penny during plant construction'

Greg Clark said the strike price compares broadly to costs of other clean energy.

Consumers will not "pay a penny" for Hinkley's construction until it generates electricity, the energy minister told parliament.

Greg Clark said the proposed 'strike price' of £92.50 MW/h, which would reduce to £89.50 MW/h if Sizewell C is built, contains important elements of insurance against cost overrun and future high gas prices.

He added the price "compares broadly" to costs of other clean energy.

He said the Hinkley deal "rebooted" the nuclear industry and that costs would reduce as new nuclear stations open, five of which are proposed.

It must be stressed that the contracts negotiated places all the construction risk on investors alone.

Consumers will not pay a penny unless and until the plant generates electricity.

– Business and energy minister, Greg Clark

Hinkley reforms will ensure national interest, minister says

Changes to the Hinkley Point deal will secure the national interest, Greg Clark told parliament.

Energy and business minister Greg Clark said the Hinkley nuclear plant deal will bring the UK into line with other major economies and provide a "fair and consistent approach" to national security implications.

"It is important that the right balance between foreign investment and securing the national interest is met, and that is exactly what these changes will achieve," he told Parliament on Thursday.

These changes mean that while the UK will remain one of the most open economies in the world, the public can be confident that foreign direct investment works always in the country's best interests.

– Greg Clark

Labour: Vital that Hinkley Point goes ahead

Barry Gardiner said the Government negotiated too high a price Credit: PA

Labour described the agreed plans for the Hinkley C power plant as "vital" for the UK economy.

Barry Gardiner, Labour’s shadow energy secretary, stressed the importance of the 25,000 high-skilled jobs and £18bn investment the project looks set to create.

But Mr Gardiner stressed the Government had "repeatedly" negotiated too high a price for Hinkley.

"As the Government undertook to review all components of the deal this summer, it is extraordinary that they have not reviewed the price per unit of power, and saddles consumers with a bill that has already increased from £6bn to £30bn", he said.

“What we desperately need from the Government is to get on with the job in hand which is to provide a well thought out strategy to deal with the future energy challenges our country will face".

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China's CGN to 'move forward' on other UK nuclear deals

CGN is set to invest billions into the Hinkley nuclear plant project. Credit: Reuters

Chinese company CGN, set to invest $8 billion in the Hinkley nuclear plant, announced it is "very happy" with the decision and it "not concerned" by ownership rules on future projects in the UK.

It said it was now "able to move forward and deliver" nuclear capacity at Sizewell and Bradwell.

We are now able to move forward and deliver much needed nuclear capacity at Hinkley Point, Sizewell and Bradwell with our strategic partners, EDF, and provide the UK with safe, reliable and sustainable low-carbon energy.

CGN and EDF have worked together in close cooperation for decades and this has laid a solid foundation for these three new nuclear projects.

CGN looks forward to leveraging its 30 years' experience in nuclear construction and operation and playing an important role in meeting the UK's future energy needs.

– CGN statement

French government welcomes 'milestone' Hinkley deal

French economy minister Michel Sapin described the go ahead as a 'major milestone'. Credit: Reuters

France's minister for energy, Michel Sapin described the go ahead for Hinkley Point as a "major milestone in Franco-British industrial and energy co-operation".

French energy provider EDF is the principle operator of the £18 billion project which will be part financed by the Chinese.

The scheme has divided opinion in France at a time when EDF's finances are stretched already by the absorption of loss-making nuclear plant builder Areva.

But Sapin called the project "good news" for the French nuclear industry and said it would showcase its nuclear technology globally.

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