28 Jul 11

EDF Energy announces significant steps on nuclear new build project following national policy progress

  • West Somerset District Council approves preparatory works at Hinkley Point C
  • EDF Energy to submit Nuclear Site Licence and key environmental permit applications for plant
  • Company signs for reactor components for Hinkley Point C

EDF Energy today announced several major steps in the construction of Hinkley Point C, after national policy decisions enabled further progress on the first nuclear power station to be built in the UK for over 20 years.

West Somerset District Council today (July 28) gave the go ahead for work to prepare the site at Hinkley Point C. The preparatory works will create up to 500 jobs, the majority of which will be for local people in Somerset.

The decision demonstrates real progress for Hinkley Point C and follows the publication of the White Paper on Electricity Market Reform on July 12 and ratification of the National Policy Statement for Nuclear by Parliament on July 18.

EDF Energy Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz said:

“July has been a major month for nuclear new build. As a result of the steps taken by Parliament and the local authority, EDF Energy is able to take immediate action to move the project forward significantly.

“This includes submitting, tomorrow (July 29), applications for a Nuclear Site Licence and for environmental permits necessary to operate a nuclear power station, and progressing the procurement of some major components.

“These are significant milestones. They demonstrate that we are progressing and delivering, while we also carry out the work to incorporate learnings from Japan and from our other new build projects internationally.

“There is still a lot to be done, including, among other steps:

1 - our application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission which will be submitted later this year.

2 - finalising details of the Contracts for Difference, which are a key component of the Electricity Market Reform announced on July 12.

“Nonetheless, today is an important step on the road. We are extremely grateful for the consent given by the West Somerset councillors, with the support of Sedgemoor District and Somerset County Councillors. They have taken a major decision enabling a project which is vital to the country. It demonstrates the importance of local democracy. We are committed to listen to the community and to deliver this investment in partnership with the people of Somerset.”

Works to prepare the site include fencing and site excavation. The programme of work has been planned to keep disruption to local communities to a minimum and includes commitments for more than £25 million worth of measures to mitigate the impact of the new build project.

The permission to carry out the work includes a range of conditions developed in discussion between EDF Energy and the council. The company is also working closely with the local authorities, residents and businesses to ensure that Somerset benefits fully from the £100 million per year expected to be injected into the local economy each year during construction.

Speaking of West Somerset District Council’s decision, Director of Planning and External Affairs for Nuclear New Build Richard Mayson said:

“We warmly welcome this decision, which follows detailed discussions and a lot of hard work over many months. We are grateful for the positive dialogue we’ve had with the Councils, local residents, organisations and businesses that have shaped the proposals. “

Next steps enabled by decisions of Parliament, Government and local authorities

1. Nuclear Site Licence and environmental permits

Tomorrow (July 29) EDF Energy, with its partner Centrica, will submit applications for various permits required to build, commission, operate and decommission a nuclear power station. These are:

  • An application for a Nuclear Site Licence, to be assessed by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).
  • Applications for Environmental Permits, to be assessed by the Environment Agency.

For the first time in the history of construction of nuclear plants in the UK, and as part of EDF Energy’s commitment to openness and transparency, these applications will be made publicly available in full. Once submitted, the Nuclear Site Licence can be viewed at www.edfenergyconsultation.info/nslandepa and the environmental permit documents will also be uploaded in due course.

2. Application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission

Today’s decision by West Somerset District Council is to grant consent for preparation of the site only. The decision about the power station itself will be taken by the Infrastructure Planning Commission.

EDF Energy expects to submit its Development Consent Order for the power station to the Infrastructure planning Commission later this year.

3. Progress on procurement

In a further step, progress has also been made on the procurement of reactor components for Hinkley Point C.

EDF Energy has signed a contract with Areva to begin the forging process for some of the main reactor components. The agreement allows Areva, which will be supplying the reactors, to begin the forging process for some of the long lead time items required.


Speaking at today’s West Somerset District Council meeting various local people spoke in support of the application preparatory works:

David Rosser, Regional Director of CBI for SW and Wales

“We believe it critical that we are able to guarantee a secure and low carbon energy mix for the UK in the decades to come.”

“We believe there are strong local economic benefits from the construction of HPC both during the construction phase and in ongoing operation, offering quality employment within the local community and also strong supply chain opportunities for local businesses.

Rupert Cox, Chief Executive, Somerset Chamber of Commerce

“Young people looking for careers in Somerset need to be enthused by the potential of skilled jobs in high level civil construction and engineering as well as the 60 year legacy of up to 900 high skilled nuclear power workers.

“It's an opportunity to kick start the benefits to the local economy that Hinkley Point C will deliver - thousands of jobs during construction, hundreds for the many years of operation and millions of pounds for the local economy and the skills and training provision in Somerset.”

Ken Westhall, Chairman of Williton Chamber of Commerce

“Indeed already a number of local businesses have applied for and been accepted onto the supply chain for EDF and we’re pleased to see that people like electricians, tree planters, taxi drivers, tractor providers, office suppliers and even bakeries have already started to earn out of the project.”

Marguerite Bowden, Assistant Principal, West Somerset Community College

“We feel that there are training opportunities for our young people and for our adults in the community in terms of displacement activity. We also feel we will be carrying out a strong role in terms of up-skilling and conversion courses for adults in the locality.”