No doubt the bubbly is flowing at Herbert Smith Freehills and Slaughter and May today, as it was revealed that the firms have taken lead roles in the establishment of the UK’s first new nuclear power station in a generation.
Based down in Somerset, the Hinkley Point C plant is expected to cost about £16bn to build. It’ll ultimately provide a whopping 7 per cent of the UK’s total electricity when it is completed in 2023. The build itself will create about 25,000 jobs, which will be replaced with a further 900 permanent roles during the plant’s 60-year operation.
The firms’ celebrations are well deserved, having successfully navigated the choppy waters of the Government’s green energy investment incentives. In truth, this has been an epic deal for all involved. Despite being widely reported that the transaction has been in the making for two and half years, Herbies’ team has been beavering away on the project since 2006.
The team, led by the firm’s co-head of nuclear Julia Pyke, will take the reins for EDF Energy having been reappointed to its panel in late 2012. The French power group will lead a consortium also comprising French nuclear developer Areva and two state-owned Chinese companies – China General Nuclear Power Group and China National Nuclear Group.
Slaughters’ head of financing Paul Stacey has advised the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and while the Chinese groups’ advisers are yet to be announced. But it’s highly likely this project will keep a raft of other firms ticking over for quite some time.