Kire and Bam Nuttall to benefit from local council approval for nuclear power plant start

French utility EDF has been granted planning permission for preparatory works for the planned new nuclear powers station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

The council approved the £100m works, which are set to be undertaken by a joint venture between Bam Nuttall and Kier, in a planning committee yesterday.

The firm said the works will create 500 jobs, and the approval is likely to trigger the final signing of a contract with Kier and Bam which has been awaiting the planning permission.

EDF is currently tendering for the main civil package for the construction, but will not tie down a contractor until the full planning application is approved by the Infrastructure Planning Commission, likely to be not before the end of 2012. It will submit the application later this year.

EDF said yesterday it has also placed an order for reactor components with its reactor builder Areva, in a further sign of the project getting underway. It will also today submit applications for nuclear site licences from the Office of Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency.

However, EDF Energy chief eecutive Vincent de Rivaz said the firm was still awaiting the finalisation of the agreement with government – called a “contract for difference” – that will determine the price it gets for the energy it generates, before making its final investment decision.

He said: “July has been a major month for nuclear new build. As a result of the steps taken by Parliament and the local authority, EDF Energy is able to take immediate action to move the project forward significantly.

“today is an important step on the road. We are extremely grateful for the consent given by the West Somerset councillors, with the support of Sedgemoor District and Somerset County Councillors. They have taken a major decision enabling a project which is vital to the country.

“These significant milestones demonstrate that we are progressing and delivering. There is still a lot to be done.”