New nuclear power station funding sparks controversy across the EU
Britain was given approval by EU last week to proceed with the construction of a 24.5bn nuclear power plant, Hinkley Point C in Somerset. This news meets conflicting reviews due to heavy opposition from organised UK protest groups such as Stop Hinkley and Greenpeace.
The power plant is set to house two nuclear reactors and will be built by industry giants EDF Energy. EDF claim that the new site will bring with it a host of benefits, including boosts to local economy, 900+ permanent jobs for the next 60 years and clean, safe energy for 5m homes.
Nuclear power has always been a topic of strong debate, raising not only direct physical issues regarding responsible handling of waste and varying worldwide safeguard quality, but also moral and ethical disputes.
Despite heavy opposition from the British public, 16 commissioners voted in favour of the project, only slightly ahead of the minimum 15 required for the project to proceed.
However, secretary of state for energy Edward Davey said last year that “for the first time, a nuclear station will not have been built with money from the British taxpayer.” This statement now seems poles apart from the announcement made only last week to reduce funding taken from UK taxes.
The incident of Chernobyl and more recently the on-going dilemma at Fukushima have proved historically that despite the new plant being located in Britain, nuclear energy is a worldwide concern. No stranger to controversy, Hinkley Point C raises yet another paradoxical debate about the price that can be paid in the constant endeavour for progress.