The UK Government has finally approved the long-delayed £18bn ($23.7bn) Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset, England.

The approval follows completion of a comprehensive review of the 3.2GW Hinkley Point C project and a revised agreement with French energy giant EDF, the project developer.

Featuring two reactors, the project is expected to deliver safe, reliable, and low carbon nuclear power at a competitive cost. It will be the country’s first new nuclear plant in more than 20 years.

EDF Group chairman Jean-Bernard Lévy said: "The decision of the British Government to proceed with Hinkley Point C marks the relaunch of nuclear in Europe.”

The government said it would take a special share in all future nuclear projects to ensure that significant stakes are sold with its knowledge or consent.

Significant new safeguards have also been imposed by the government for future foreign investment in critical infrastructure.

UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark said: “Having thoroughly reviewed the proposal for Hinkley Point C, we will introduce a series of measures to enhance security and will ensure Hinkley cannot change hands without the Government’s agreement.

“Consequently, we have decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation.

“Britain needs to upgrade its supplies of energy, and we have always been clear that nuclear is an important part of ensuring our future low-carbon energy security.”

Last year, China General Nuclear Power (CGN) agreed to acquire 33.5% stake in the project by investing €6bn through its new company General Nuclear International (GNI).

The project, which is planned to be commissioned by 2025, is expected to create up to 25,000 jobs and supply power to about six million homes.

In 2013, the project received state aid from the UK government in the form of a subsidy of £92.50 (approximately $156) for every megawatt hour (MWh) produced by the power plantover a 35-year period.

Image: Illustration of Hinkley Point C nuclear project in UK. Photo: courtesy of EDF Energy.