Nuclear power: Hinkley Point
Information and reports about Hinkley Point nuclear power station.
Hinkley Point’s first nuclear power station, Hinkley Point A, operated from 1965 to 2000 and is currently being decommissioned. Hinkley Point B produces up to 840 megawatts of electricity, enough to meet the needs of about one million homes. Hinkley Point was nominated by EDF Energy as a potential site for a new nuclear power station during the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) development of the Nuclear National Policy Statement (NPS). DECC consulted widely on the draft NPS before deciding that the site should be included.
EDF Energy is proposing to build a twin reactor station at Hinkley Point C that would generate 3,200 megawatts of electricity, enough to meet the electricity needs of nearly 6 million homes.
Progress on Hinkley Point C
Hinkley Point C will be the first nuclear power station in a generation, with the plant expected to begin electricity generation in 2023. In November 2012 the Office for Nuclear Regulation issued a nuclear site licence for Hinkley Point C and in December 2012, following a 5 year assessment of the generic design, the nuclear regulators confirmed that the UK Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) is suitable for construction in the UK.
On 19 March 2013, the Secretary of State announced his decision to grant planning consent for the Hinkley Point C project. The UK government and EDF announced on 21 October 2013 that they have reached commercial agreement on the key terms of a proposed investment contract for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. Currently the European Commission is investigating the Hinkley Point C State Aid case with a public consultation.
Planning and consents for Hinkley Point C
Under the Planning Act 2008, the Planning Inspectorate considers all applications to develop nationally significant energy infrastructure projects in England and Wales. The inspectorate then makes recommendations to ministers at DECC, who make the final decision on the applications.
Find out more about the planning and consents process for national energy infrastructure.
Licensing and permissioning
The Office for Nuclear Regulation is responsible for licensing and permissioning proposed new sites for nuclear power stations. On 26 November 2012, the Office for Nuclear Regulation granted a nuclear site licence to EDF Energy in relation to its proposed site at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.
Generic Design Assessment
The Environment Agency and the Office for Nuclear Regulation have completed their generic design assessment of the UK EPR reactor design that is proposed by EDF Energy for Hinkley Point. They concluded that the design would be acceptable if built in the UK and that people and the environment would be properly protected. They use this work to help inform decisions on site specific licensing and environmental permit applications from potential operators.
Reports about EDF and Areva's UK EPR nuclear reactor design
Generic design assessment: UK EPR nuclear reactor design by AREVA NP SAS and Electricite de France SA
Generic design assessment: UK EPR nuclear power plant design by AREVA NP SAS and Electricite de France SA consultation documents
Documents about environmental permitting of Hinkley Point C
Operators of nuclear sites must have a permit from the Environment Agency. Through permits, the Environment Agency sets conditions on how each site disposes of its radioactive waste, including discharges to air and water. The Environment Agency checks that operators don’t release radioactivity above their limits and that they use the best available techniques to minimise the radioactive waste they create and the radioactivity they discharge.
The Environment Agency consults on the applications it receives for nuclear new build operational and construction phase environmental permits.
The Environment Agency issued 3 operational environmental permits to EDF Energy for Hinkley Point C in March 2013. They will allow EDF Energy to dispose of and discharge radioactive wastes, operate standby power supply systems using diesel generators and discharge cooling water and liquid effluents into the Bristol Channel.
The Environment Agency received applications for these permits in summer 2011 and consulted on draft decisions on the applications in autumn 2012.
The Environment Agency has also issued a permit to EDF Energy relating to discharges of waste water generated from site preparation and construction activities.
The Environment Agency expects to receive a number of environmental permit applications for activities to be carried out during the construction of a nuclear power station and in relation to associated developments such as park and ride.
EDF Energy’s environmental permit applications for Hinkley Point C are available from their download centre
Hinkley Point: decisions on environmental permit applications for a proposed new nuclear power station
News and press releases relating to Hinkley Point.
Guidance on permitting
Guidance relating to new nuclear power stations.