EDF are preparing to build new nuclear reactors at Hinkley which could help growth and create 25,000 jobs, but the deal is in the balance.
Four people have been arrested after protesters blockaded access to the nuclear site at Hinkley Point in Bridgwater this morning [Friday].
Anti-nuclear protesters are hoping to stage a mass trespass today at Hinkley Point near Bridgwater. Six people are arrested.
The Energy Minister John Hayes is welcoming the news that Hinkley B will be operating for an extra seven years.
– JOHN HAYES, ENERGY MINISTER
It is absolutely fantastic news for our energy security that these two nuclear power stations will continue generating vast amounts of electricity into the 2020s.
This decision will also secure hundreds of skilled jobs in both Somerset and North Ayrshire, highlighting the value of nuclear energy to our economy and society.
Recent polling conducted by EDF Energy shows that 74% of Somerset people agree that nuclear is a necessary part of the energy balance, which is significantly above the already impressive national average of 66%.
The B station employs around 535 full time staff, including 44 apprentices, as well as 220 full time staff from contract partners and the wage bill alone is an estimated £40m a year which goes into the local economy.
EDF Energy announced it had completed the necessary technical and economic evaluation that is expected to see the plant, one of the area’s largest employers, continue operating until at least 2023.
The decision has been welcomed by local authorities in Somerset as well as trade unions, as it will help to preserve the local skills and jobs associated with the existing plant until after the expected completion of the planned new nuclear power station.
– Vincent de Rivaz, EDF Energy chief executive
This decision will bring significant benefits to the local community in terms of jobs and additional economic activity. We have committed to investing a further £300m a year in the eight-strong nuclear fleet. Our nuclear generation business provides work for more than 300 companies in the supply chain and around 90 per cent of our total £650m annual spend in the supply chain goes to British companies.
The visitor centre, located in Angel Place shopping centre in nearby Bridgwater, was officially opened today by Vincent de Rivaz.
As well as offering guided tours of Hinkley Point B, the new visitors’ centre provides classroom facilities for local school students to learn more about nuclear power.
– Mike Harrison, Hinkley Point B’s station director
This is great news for all of us at Hinkley Point B and for everyone in the local community.
The decision means we can continue to provide highly skilled jobs and bring major investment to the area. It also shows that EDF Energy recognises the professionalism and commitment of our staff in safely supplying low carbon electricity for more than 36 years.
It's been announced that Hinkley Point B nuclear power station in Somerset will carry on generating electricity for another seven years.
Following assessments, EDF energy has decided to extend its life until at least 2023. It says it has completed the necessary assessments.
It comes on the day the company opens a new visitor centre at the plant.
Police were called to Hinkley Point this morning to deal with a small number of people stopping traffic entering the site and leading to queues on the approach road.
They arrested four people for wilfully obstructing the highway.
– EDF Energy Spokesperson
We respect the rights of individuals to peaceful and lawful protest, however, we are also mindful of the pressure these events can place on the local community with whom we have strong links.
The safety and security of all our nuclear sites is our overriding priority. We believe strongly that low-carbon nuclear has a vital role in maintaining UK electricity supplies in the future.