The government and EDF have signed the final contract for the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear power plant.
The contract was signed at a ceremony today, in which business secretary Greg Clark, EDF chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy and Chinese nuclear firm CGN’s chairman He Yu were all present.
French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Chinese energy minister Nur Bekri were also in attendance at the event.
The signing of the contract gives the final green light for the project, paving the way for construction to start on the UK’s first nuclear power plant for three decades.
It comes after the government’s unexpected decision in July to delay giving the project the green light, despite the EDF board agreeing on a final investment decision hours earlier.
The contracts signed today included the contract for difference, which will ensure EDF is paid £92.50 per MWh for the electricity produced at Hinkley.
Hinkley will provide 7 per cent of Britain’s electricity needs for 60 years.
UK-based businesses will benefit from more than 60 per cent of the £18bn value of the project and 26,000 jobs and apprenticeships will be created.
More than £3bn-worth of contracts have already been signed by construction and engineering firms that will help deliver the plant.
The agreement signed today will also allow CGN to officially submit its HPR1000 reactor design for GDA approval, which is set to be used on its proposed Bradwell nuclear plant in Essex.
CGN will now file the GDA application to the UK government immediately and aims to complete the approval process within five years.
Mr Clark said: “Signing the contract for difference for Hinkley Point C is a crucial moment in the UK’s first new nuclear power station for a generation and follows new measures put in place by government to strengthen security and ownership.
“Britain needs to upgrade its supplies of energy, and we have always been clear that nuclear power stations like Hinkley play an important part in ensuring our future low-carbon energy security.”
CGN chairman He Yu said: “The signing of these agreements signifies CGN’s commitment to the UK as one of the world’s leading developers and operators of nuclear power.
“This flagship programme is a triple win for China, Britain and France and is a culmination of years of co-operation between the three countries. CGN looks forward to providing UK consumers with safe, reliable and sustainable energy and maximising opportunities for UK suppliers and the UK workforce.”