MAYOR of London and potential future leader of the Conservative Party Boris Johnson has branded the proposed costs of Hinkley C 'a disgrace'.

Mr Johnson was answering questions from Baroness Jones, a Green Party member of the London Assembly at Mayor's Question Time, when he criticised the government plans - just a month after David Cameron and George Osborne succeeded in brokering a deal with China to help fund the Somerset nuclear plant.

Baroness Jones asked a question relating to the withdrawal of subsidies for renewable energy in contrast to the £17 billion Hinkley C plan, to which Mr Johnson replied: "I'm totally with you on that one - it's a disgrace."

"Do I think the deal on nuclear power looks like good value for money, £95 per kilowatt hour for 30 years or whatever it is? It looks like an extraordinary amount of money to spend," Mr Johnson said.

"But I think we have been left in a very difficult position by previous Labour administrations with our energy supply; we need to have security of supply – nuclear has got to be part of the mix – it won’t be the whole solution but it has to be part of it and in an ideal world we would still be one of the world’s great nuclear innovators if we had more nuclear physicists than France or Korea," he added.

There is speculation that Mr Johnson, whose family hail from near Dulverton, will run to be leader of the Conservative Party after David Cameron stands down.

Work could start on the new EDF plant within a matter of weeks following the announcement that China will invest £6 billion in the project last month.

French-owned EDF say that Hinkley Point C will deliver secure and affordable low carbon electricity for the next 60 years.

A spokesman for EDF said: “Nuclear is the only proven low-carbon option for providing the predictable electricity generation the UK needs. It will provide seven percent of the UK’s generation needs whilst minimising carbon output. The electricity generated from Hinkley Point C will avoid 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, which is 600 million tonnes over its 60 year lifespan.”

Speaking after the China deal was announced in October, Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger said: “The presence of the largest construction project in Europe is not merely going to generate a significant input into the local economy during its lifetime; it’s going to create a wider legacy of prosperity, skill, education and training that will last for generations.

“There is hardly a sector of the local economy, from engineering to agriculture which is not going to derive some benefit from the project.

“Despite all the shroud-waving by a small but highly local anti-nuclear lobby history shows us that the nuclear industry has been nothing but a good neighbour to Bridgwater and West Somerset for the last 50 years."

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