French-Chinese consortium given the all clear to construct new nuclear power plant in the UK

Construction of the Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset will be overseen by a consortium led by France’s EDF Energy and including Chinese companies China National Nuclear Corporation and China General Nuclear Power Corporation as minority shareholders in the project. The involvement of the two latter companies comes in the wake of an announcement by the UK Chancellor that Chinese firms would be allowed to invest in civil nuclear projects in the UK going forward.

Ministers and EDF have been in talks for more than a year about the minimum price the company will be paid for electricity produced at the site, which the government estimates will cost £16 billion to build. The two sides have now agreed the "strike price" of £92.50 for every megawatt hour of energy Hinkley C generates.

The two reactors planned for Hinkley, which will provide power for about 60 years, are a key part of the coalition government’s drive to shift the UK away from fossil fuels towards low-carbon power. The existing plant at Hinkley currently produces about one percent of the UK's total energy, but this is expected to rise to seven percent once the expansion is complete in 2023.