Hinkley Point: Timeline
Monday, October 21, 2013
The Government has given the go ahead to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.
The controversial Hinkley Point C, to be built in Somerset, will be the UK’s first new nuclear reactor in 20 years. The coalition has agreed a multi billion subsidy to France’s EDF and a state-owned Chinese company to enable the project to proceed.
The two planned pressurised water reactors at Hinkley Point C, Somerset, will be the first to be built in Europe since Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in 2011, the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
1965 Hinkley Point A nuclear power station began generating electricity in Somerset.
1967 Construction of Hinkley Point B began.
1976 Hinkley Point B became operational and started generating electricity.
1979 partial meltdown of nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island, USA
1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, Ukraine, the worst the world has ever seen, sends fallout as far as Scottish Highlands.
1989 Hinkley Point B was taken over by Nuclear Electric as part of the privatisation of the UK Electricity Supply Industry.
1996 The AGR and PWR assets of Nuclear Electric and Scottish Nuclear were privatised as part of British Energy.
2000 Hinkley Point A shut down.
2006 Hinkley Point B’s reactors were closed to test defects found in similar reactors. It was announced that Hinkley Point B would operate at a maximum of 70 per cent efficiency until a decision was made over whether to extend its usable life.
2008 The Government gave the green light for a new generation of nuclear power stations to be built.
2010 Hinkley Point was identified as one of eight sites suitable for a new reactor.
2011 The world witnessed the nuclear power plant meltdown at Fukushima in Japan.
EDF submitted a plan for development of a new reactor at the site, Hinkley Point C.
The Stop Hinkley protest group formed to campaign for the closure of Hinkley Point B and oppose expansion at the Hinkley Point site.
In October 2011 more than 200 protesters blockaded the site.
2012 The first new nuclear licence since 1987 was awarded for Hinkley Point C.
In February 2012 around seven protesters set up camp in an abandoned farm on the site of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
On March 10, the first anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, two hundred anti-nuclear campaigners formed a symbolic chain around Hinkley Point to voice their opposition to new nuclear power plants, and to call on the coalition Government to hold back on its plan for seven other new nuclear plants across the UK.
2013 In July the Fukushima plant is revealed to be leaking radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.
2013 On October 21 the government gave the go ahead for Hinkley Point C after finally agreeing the guaranteed price paid for energy produced by the new reactor. The “strike price” of £92.50 for each megawatt hour of energy Hinkley C generates is almost twice the current wholesale cost of electricity, is guaranteed for 35 years and will rise in line with inflation.
2023 The Hinkley Point C reactors will become operational if constructed on time and the contract is due to run for 35 years. The reactor's expected lifespan is 60 years.
Opponents of the plan point out the dangers, and the unsolved question of what will happen to the nuclear waste. Critics are also concerned with giving the Chinese a stake in Britain’s energy infrastructure and providing massive subsidies to foreign firms for an old technology.
In contrast to Britain Germany has decided to phase out nuclear power, Italy has scrapped a planned nuclear programme and France has pledged to cut atomic power by a third, meaning that it will account for only half of its electricity production.
UK companies are likely to miss out on specialist contracts to build the £14bn nuclear power station at Hinkley Point because of a the lack of the required engineering skills in the country, according to EDF Energy.
But Somerset County Council and many others welcome the expected boost that Hinkley Point C will bring to the local economy.