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.
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.
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.
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