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The UK is to push ahead with a new nuclear power station across the Irish Sea

The Hinkley Point project had been thrown into doubt but it will go ahead.

The plant is to be located at Hinkley Point, across the Bristol Channel from Wales.
The plant is to be located at Hinkley Point, across the Bristol Channel from Wales.

THE UK GOVERNMENT has given the green light to the controversial Chinese-backed Hinkley Point nuclear power plant — but with new conditions to address security concerns.

China has a one-third stake in the Hinkley Point project, and analysts have warned that Britain would have risked its relations with the world’s second-largest economy if it cancelled.

Hinkley Point is the first new nuclear plant to be built in the UK for 20 years. It is located along the Bristol Channel and is about 250 km from Rosslare, in Co. Wexford.

The announcement came two months after Prime Minister Theresa May ordered a review of the €21 billion deal brokered under her predecessor, David Cameron.

The board of French state-owned power company EDF had already approved its participation in the project in southwest England in July when May’s government said it wanted to review it.

“Having thoroughly reviewed the proposals 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,” Britain’s Business Secretary Greg Clark said in a statement.

Consequently, we have decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation.

Hinkley Point nuclear power station plans There was pressure from part-owners China to build the new power station. Source: Andrew Matthews

A separate government statement said there had been a “revised agreement with EDF” and that new laws would be introduced to govern future foreign investment in critical British infrastructure.

“Existing legal powers, and the new legal framework, will mean that the government is able to intervene in the sale of EDF’s stake once Hinkley is operational,” the statement added.

May called French President Francois Hollande on yesterday evening to tell him that the British government had approved the project, the French presidency said.

Critics of the project have argued that the price for power generated by Hinkley is too high and that the technology is outdated.

Campaigners against the project are also due to hand in a 300,000-signature petition to May’s Downing Street office later today with environmental watchdog Greenpeace.

“Consumers can tell that the project may be unconstructable, requires vast subsidies and would generate electricity too expensive to use,” Stop Hinkley spokeswoman Sue Aubrey said in a statement.

© – AFP 2016 with reporting by Rónán Duffy

Read: A new nuclear power station will be built 250 km from the Irish coast >

Read: North Korea launched a missile that landed 250km off the coast of Japan >

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