EDF Energy has agreed to spend over £64 million ($104 million) to support local communities and services if it gets the go-ahead to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
|Bridgwater College's Energy Skills Centre will benefit from the funding (Image: EDF)
Local councils have been involved in months of discussions with the company on how to reduce the impact of the first new nuclear plant to be built in the UK in over 20 years. The new package is subject to EDF Energy receiving planning consent and making a final investment decision on the project, expected by the end of 2012. Earlier this year the company committed to £30 million ($49 million) funding for the community in connection with site preparation works.
The money will benefit communities in south-west England by supporting services such as education, training, transport and housing. Nearly £16 million of the money will be spent on improving roads to ease traffic and increase road safety, while a total of over £10 million will go towards education: £7.1 million to improve local skills and training, including an Energy Skills Centre at a local college and £3 million to support local education, providing extra school places if necessary. Other major projects include a housing fund of up to £8.5 million to mitigate potential impacts on the local housing market and £12.8 million for measures to "enhance the quality of life" of local communities. Health services, the local economy and tourism, and environmental measures such as local flood protection are also earmarked to receive funds.
Local government leaders from Sedgemoor, Somerset County and West Somerset councils were full of enthusiasm for the agreement. "All our energies must go into making this a development of which the country and our communities can be proud," said Sedgemoor council leader Duncan McGinty, while EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz described the agreement as "a strong springboard for success."
EDF Energy is planning to build two EPR units at Hinkley Point C, which is adjacent to its operating AGR reactors at Hinkley Point B. Two Magnox reactors at Hinkley Point A closed down in 2000 and are undergoing decommissioning. The local authorities gave consent for the start of groundworks at the site in July 2011, and site preparations started in February 2012.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News