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First British nuclear licence in 25 years

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LONDON, Nov 26 AFP

November 27 2012, 04:03AM

Britain has awarded its first new nuclear power plant site licence for 25 years to French energy giant EDF, which is looking to build a new station in southwest England.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation on Monday granted the licence to NNB Generation Company, a subsidiary of the French utility's British arm EDF Energy, which wants to build a new plant at Hinkley Point on the Somerset coast.

NNB GenCo is planning to build two European pressurised water reactors (EPRs) at Hinkley Point. The ONR is working with the Environment Agency government body to assess the reactor's generic design.

The two regulators issued interim acceptance for the designs in December 2011. A final decision could be made by the end of this year, after which the reactor can be built if the remaining hurdles are cleared.

Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, EDF Energy managing director of nuclear new build, said: "The award of a nuclear site licence for Hinkley Point C is another crucial step forward as we ready ourselves to build the first new nuclear reactors in the UK for around 20 years, subject to our final investment decision."

He added: "The proposed new power station in Somerset will provide enough low carbon electricity to power five million homes and its construction will create around 25,000 jobs at site alone, giving a real boost to the economy.

"However, there is still a great deal of work to be done before this nationally significant infrastructure project can become a reality."

EDF is hoping to build four EPRs in Britain - two at Hinckley and two at Sizewell on the eastern English coast in Suffolk. It is in talks with several potential partners.