Government gives go ahead for nuclear power plant

The government has given the all-clear for the UK to build a nuclear power station in Somerset – the first to be built in nearly 20 years.

A consortium including EDF energy and Chinese investors will build the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant.

The government has said that the power station will move the UK toward lower generating costs and shift it away from fossil fuels toward low-carbon power.

However, many have criticised the government for agreeing to pay EDF a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour (Mwh). This is double the current wholesale price of electricity, which stands at £45/Mwh.

Using YouGov’s social media analysis tool, SoMA, we can measure the impact of this announcement on Twitter. So far today 50.8% of UK Twitter users have been exposed to Hinkley C Nuclear, up from just 12.9% yesterday and 1.2% the day before that.

Reaction to the news has been mixed on Twitter.

While some users believe the deal to be positive:

  • ‘Good to see agreement reached with EDF to build new nuclear power station at Hinckley Point. This £16bn investment will create 25,000 jobs’

Others clearly reacted negatively:

  • ‘Even those pro- nuclear horrified at the cost of EDF/China nuclear deal for UK customers’
  • ‘Nuclear power's broken promises means EDF deal is a delusional dream’

The announcement comes at a time when rising energy prices have been at the forefront of the political agenda. Labour leader Ed Miliband has vowed to freeze energy prices if Labour wins the next general election – a policy staunchly opposed by the Conservative party.

Meanwhile, some Twitter users highlighted what they see as a contradiction in Tory opposition to Ed Miliband’s policy to freeze energy prices in that the nuclear plan contains a commitment to guarantee EDF a minimum strike price for the cost of nuclear electricity when the plant is fully operational in 2023.

  • ‘#EDF guaranteed price per megawatt hours for production at #Hinkley. Thought the government said you couldn't possibly fix energy prices...’
  • ‘Interesting how gov happy to fix energy price for #nuclear @edfenergy but not consumers?’

Learn more about SoMA

Image courtesy of Getty

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