The British government has become the first in Europe to provide state guarantees to help fund a nuclear project. The move comes after French utility giant EDF and the British government signed off a deal to build two nuclear reactors at a total cost of almost 19 billion euros.
“I think what’s interesting is that this nuclear power station is not going to be calling on the British taxpayer for money;we are not going to have to divert British taxpayers money away from railways or roads or hospitals or schools. Instead we are attracting foreign investors, French companies, Chinese companies to come and invest in our infrastructure. I think that is a good thing,” British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters.
The two Areva-designed European Pressurised Water Reactors are destined for Hinkley Point C in Somerset, in the southwest of England.
Government ministers say the deal will help take the UK towards low-carbon power and lower generating costs. It is the first new European nuclear plant since the Fukushima crisis two years ago. Since then, stricter safety rules have been imposed by regulators with government backing now required for any new project.
Opponents have demonstrated against the new reactors and last year a protest group set up a camp in an abandoned farm on the proposed site.
The announcement comes at a time when nuclear power is being scaled back in other European countries.