|Fig. 1: Is Hinkley Point a suitable location for a nuclear power plant? (Source: Wikimedia Commons)|
Hinkley point is a narrow piece of land that projects off the coast of the British Channel near Somerset, England (as pictured in Fig. 1). This area and the land surrounding serve as popular spots for nature reserves and farmland. In the past, the British have tried to build wind turbines around the area, but this proposal was rejected. Just recently, though, Britain has been making plans to open up two nuclear power plants at Hinkley Point. This would be the first nuclear power plant that the country has created within the last twenty years. An integrated energy company in the UK called EDF Energy is backing this project in hopes of using this energy to produce gas and electricity to homes and buildings across the country.
If undergone, this project at Hinkley Point could provide up to 7% of the UK's electricity. If the plan goes forward, EDF Energy says that they would aim to create four total nuclear power plants in the UK like this one, with the potential power of fueling 40% of British homes.  This would be a huge help to the country as a whole, dramatically increasing its ease of access to electricity. Also, one of the big reasons that the UK wants to go ahead with the project is to cut carbon emissions. After disasters such as Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, nuclear energy has revived and is now cleaner than ever before. Using nuclear energy will be much more healthy for the UK's environment than the use of fossil fuels. And to add to all of this, the Chancellor of England, George Osborne, is showing strong backing for the project even though others question its potential survival.
The costs of this project are immense. The two nuclear reactors would be among the biggest reactors in the world, so most of the costs would come from pure construction. EDF Energy wants to go ahead and start with the project before the total 18 billion pounds are raised from the selling of some of its assets and some financial backing from China and France.  Additionally, the stakes are relatively high because this is the first project of its kind in which Britain is trying to replace older nuclear energy techniques with more modern plants like this one. 
Although this project may seem too financially draining to EDF and to Britain as a whole, the long-term benefits of this plan could be limitless. The revenue produced once the plants are done could exponentially expand EDF as an organization, Great Britain could have an abundance of electricity for its citizens, and the country would be moving to cleaner energy sources overall. Beneficial or not, it will be very interesting to see what happens at Hinkley Point.
© David Wilczynski. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.
 J. Moyland, "Decision on New Nuclear Power Plant 'delayed',"BBC News, 9 Mar 16.
 I. Landauro and S. Williams, "EDF Shares Dive After Finance Chief Quits Over How to Finance U.K. Nuclear Project," Wall Street Journal, 7 Mar 16.