A government decision to give the green light to the first of a new generation of nuclear power plants received a mixed reaction today.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey told the Commons that he will allow French energy giant EDF to build two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.
EDF claims the plant will be able to produce 7 per cent of Britain's electricity, enough to power five million homes.
Trade unions welcomed the decisions as a boost for jobs and a step towards meeting Britain's low-carbon energy needs.
Unite national officer Kevin Coyne said the development will "create thousands of skilled construction jobs for the next five years, and around 800 jobs in the operation of the power station over the next 60 years."
However EDF will not finalise its investment until a deal is completed on what "strike" price the government will pay for electricity generated by the plant.
Under energy regulations, the government must guarantee producers of low-carbon energy a long-term contract with a fixed price for the electricity they produce.
Greenpeace executive director John Sauven warned the development will "lock a generation of consumers into higher energy bills, via a strike price that's expected to be double the current price of electricity."
Mr Sauven said there is "no rationale" for the plant because companies believe "the price of offshore wind will drop so much it will be on par with nuclear by 2020.
"Giving it the green light when there is no credible plan for dealing with the waste could also be in breach of the law," he added.
GMB national officer Gary Smith welcomed today's announcement but said the government should "go the whole hog" and nationalise the nuclear energy sector.
He said Westminster's energy and climate change committee had already called on ministers to produce a contingency plan in case private nuclear companies do not produce enough energy.
Local campaigners labelled today's decision a "political scandal" and nobody believed the consultation over the plant was nothing more "than an elaborate, undemocratic sham."