What will EDF Energy bring to the area?

The firm behind the construction of Hinkley Point C insists that the nuclear new build will bring a variety of benefits to the area, and that they will be investing in the local area. But what are they really bringing to the area?

EDF Energy claim that the project is to be the first in a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK, and provide “a clean, secure and affordable source of electricity for around five million homes.”

In the area around the build, EDF also claim that the build will provide around 25,000 employment opportunities throughout the build, which will take nearly a decade to complete. Furthermore, the plant will bring in around 900 jobs at the new stations, which will be in operation for more than 60 years.


For these 25,000 temporary workers, EDF will be constructing accommodation for approximately 2,000 workers. Other workers will be supported by the housing markets in Bridgwater and the surrounding areas. However, the 25,000 temporary workers speculated to be working on the site are to work over the entire duration of the construction – it is unlikely that there will be more than 7,000 construction workers on the site at any one time.

EDF have also announced a variety of investments in the local area, claiming that they are “investing in local people, equipping with the necessary skills to work on the project, ranging from construction and energy skills to training in business and enterprise.” This includes the development of a new construction skills training centre in conjunction with Bridgwater College. EDF are also investing £15 million in redeveloping Cannington Court, in order to develop it into the EDF Energy campus management and skills training centre.

Also, as early as 2012, EDF had awarded £25 million in contracts to local firms, and has invested £1.6 million in West Somerset Community College, of which £1 million will be dedicated to developing a new hub for apprenticeships. The firm estimates that 400 apprenticeships will be created throughout the project, some of which will be targeted to convince young people to enter the Nuclear industry.

EDF Energy has also created an employment brokerage scheme in association with the Job Centre. This aims to match people to various job opportunities that will be generated by the project.

EDF are also implementing a variety of improvements to the transport network in the area – but not everyone is supportive of the proposals.

Hinkley Point: a history

There has been a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point for almost 60 years. Over the years, reactors have been built and decommissioned – but the headland is now synonymous with nuclear power.hinkley-sea Five miles north of Bridgwater is the headland of Hinkley Point. A popular location for birdwatching, the bay to which it adjoins has been declared a site of specific scientific interest. Since 1965, the headland has been home to a nuclear power station. The construction of the first plant, Hinkley Point A, began in 1957, before it was commissioned in 1965. This plant, consisting of two nuclear reactors, was operational until 2000, when it was shut down due to the cost of maintaining it. The plant was joined by Hinkley Point B in 1976, which is still operational under the French-owned company EDF Energy. Hinkley Point B currently provides 945 Megawatts to the national grid, employing approximately 535 full time EDF Energy employees, plus over 220 full time contract partners. hinkley-quantocks A third plant has been under consideration for many years. EDF announced plans to build a new reactor at Hinkley Point in 2008, and bought additional land on which to construct the station in 2011.

Throughout 2013, EDF was in negotiation with the Department of Energy and Climate Change about the creation of a third plant on the headland. In particular, the company demanded a guaranteed price for the electricity produced. The site received planning consent in March of 2013, which was followed with the agreement over energy prices in October the same year.

However, in December 2013, an investigation was opened by the European Commission, to investigate whether the project will break EU regulations into state aid. Under EU law, it is legal to support a company with public money so long as it is on terms that would have been accepted under market conditions. Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia has reportedly said that, under the agreement, “the nuclear plant operator will ultimately receive a fixed level of revenues and will therefore not be exposed to market risks for the duration of the scheme.”

For now, the expansion of Hinkley Point is on hold while the European Commission considers the effect that the agreement between EDF Energy and the UK Government will have on the energy industry in the UK and abroad. However, it still appears likely that, somehow or other, Hinkley Point will become home to a new nuclear power station – and this will bring a large amount of change to the region.