Hinkley Community 128m Pounnds Nuclear Plant Boost
By Anne Lewis-Schneider
Government has announced a benefit package for eight sites in line for new nuclear plants, and communities around Hinkley Point, Somerset could benefit to the tune of £128m. Hinkley and seven other communities in England and Wales stand to gain millions to host these new nuclear facilities, with up to £1,000 per MW produced for up to four decades after the nuclear reactors become operational. Other areas earmarked for nuclear plants include Sizewell, Wylfa, Oldbury, Sellafield, Heysham and Hartlepool.
Similar benefit packages have been made known earlier this year for on-shore wind farms which will generate £5,000 per MWh for 20 years, shale gas developments will pay £100,000 per site and 1% of production income. These funds will ensure local benefits from these projects, as these communities contributions towards hosting these projects need to be recognised, according to Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon. He said that the interests of the local people would be taken care of with long-term benefits, proportionate to the size and lifespan of the nuclear plants and that it would build on the major economic benefits which will be brought in terms of jobs, investment and the use of local service providers.
A business rates retention scheme introduced in April this year allows local government to retain half of the business rates collected from nuclear plants for up to 10 years, whilst local authorities could retain all of the business rates from inland renewable energy sources that have come on line after April 1st this year. Nuclear plants will provide a considerable boost through this scheme for the first decade, and would thereafter receive additional funding from central government. This funding will run until 2060 as its cut-off point.
The French company EDF, who will build the nuclear reactors, has said that it is essential for government to set a guaranteed price for electricity, before it will begin on the construction of the first nuclear plant at Hinkley Point. Government has been struggling to reach an agreement on the price of electricity with the developer.
Campaigners put forward the argument that these agreements will inflate the nuclear power cost, and that adding to the nuclear projects already in existence will create further disposal of nuclear waste issues, which they say, already consumes more than 50% of the budget allocated to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
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