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The EU has approved a nuclear plant to be built 240km from Ireland

Hinkley Point is a £16 billion development in Somerset.

PastedImage-94756 Source: Google Maps

THE HINKLEY NUCLEAR plant in Somerset will go ahead, after it received the backing of the EU.

The plant is a £16 billion development by the British government and French energy company EDF and marks the first British nuclear plant in almost 20 years.

The plan had come under fire from activists, who criticised the building of a nuclear plant at a site that already has two energy stations.

The plan was narrowly approved, with 16 of the 28 commissioners voting yes.

The EU’s competition watchdog said Britain had “significantly modified” its funding plans for the £16 billion deal in response to concerns about whether aspects of the deal amounted to state subsidies.

ENERGY Hinkley Hinkley Point is close to the towns of Bridgwater and Taunton Source: PA Graphics

EDF says the plant will produce 7% of the UK’s energy.

It is one of the world’s most ambitious nuclear deals and is seen as a key boost to an industry brought to its knees by the 2011 Fukushima meltdown in Japan.

“On this basis and after a thorough investigation, the Commission can now conclude that the support is compatible with EU state aid rules,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

Hinkley Point nuclear power station plans Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

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The plan has, however, attracted the ire of a number of parties, with Greenpeace angered that the nuclear industry had won.

“This is a world record sell-out to the nuclear industry at the expense of taxpayers and the environment,” said Greenpeace EU legal adviser Andrea Carta after the decision.

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said his government would “prepare and file a complaint at the European Court of Justice” to fight the greenlit project.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said that the decision marked “the dawning of a new Nuclear age in Britain”.

Sinn Féin’s Michael Colreavy said that the move was “a regressive step”.

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