The European Commission (EC) has said it is satisfied with EDF Energy’s proposals to build and operate a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C.

EDF Energy submitted relevant documentation to the European Commission in January 2010 in line with the requirements of the Euratom Treaty, under which developers of new nuclear power stations must notify the EC of any investment projects. All aspects of the project relating to the objectives of the Euratom Treaty were subsequently assessed through an internal EC working group and through discussions between the EC and the investor.

The EC presented its opinion under Article 41 of the treaty to the UK government in a document dated 12 July. In it, it concludes that the project to build two EPR reactors at the site in the county of Somerset in England’s south-west “fulfils the objectives of the Euratom Treaty and contributes to develop a sustainable national energy mix”.

The recent opinion follows a separate view on cross-border impacts expressed by the EC in May, under Article 37 of the treaty. It concluded that Hinkley Point C “is not liable to result in radioactive contamination of the water, soil or airspace of another Member State that would be significant from the point of view of health”.

EDF Energy Nuclear New Build managing director Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson described the latest EC decision as great news as the company works towards securing the necessary planning and regulatory consents for the project. “We are delighted that the European Commission has given the Hinkley Point C project a clean bill of health,” he said, adding that the verdict was the result of “a lot of hard work”.

It is just over a year since EDF lodged a nuclear site licence application with UK regulators for the plant. The company has already secured local government permission for preparatory works at the site, which is adjacent to the two shut down Magnox reactors at Hinkley Point A and two operating advanced gas cooled reactors at Hinkley Point B.

The Euratom Treaty, signed in 1957, established the European Atomic Energy Community (now referred to as Euratom) and is one of the founding treaties of the European Union (EU). It was initially created to coordinate member states’ research programs for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Today, it helps to pool knowledge, infrastructure and funding of nuclear energy across the EU and ensures the security of atomic energy supply within the framework of a centralised monitoring system.

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