Britain approves Hinkley Point C construction

Britain approves Hinkley Point C constructionThe British government on Thursday gave go ahead for a new $24 billion nuclear power station in the UK after imposing "significant new safeguards" to protect national security.

The decision came after weeks of uncertainty that strained UK ties with China and France. Two countries are planned to finance the nuclear plant construction. In exchange, China wants to use its design for new UK nuclear stations.

In a statement, May's government said it had decided to proceed with the Hinkley Point C project in Somerset after a comprehensive review, but made clear Britain would have greater control over future deals when foreign states were involved in buying stakes in "critical infrastructure".

"Having thoroughly reviewed the proposal for Hinkley Point C, we will introduce a series of measures to enhance security and will ensure Hinkley cannot change hands without the government's agreement," Greg Clark, business minister, said in a statement.

The project was put on hold in July by May’s government, just hours before a deal was to be signed. According to the initial deal, French utility firm EDF would build Britain's first new nuclear reactor in decades, backed by $8 billion of Chinese cash.

The Chinese welcomed the decision, saying they were not concerned about new rules on future projects.

"We are delighted that the British Government has decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation. 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," the state-owned China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) said.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, group chief executive of French firm EDF, which is building the plant, said: "The decision of the British Government to approve the construction of Hinkley Point C marks the relaunch of nuclear in Europe."
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