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Journal Article / Energy Union Law

Leigh Hancher

State Aid to the Nuclear Power Sector: The General Court’s Ruling on the UK Reactor at Hinkley Point C

Author(s): HANCHER Leigh

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ABSTRACT

This note examines the recent ruling of the General Court on the application lodged by the Republic of Austria to annul the European Commission’s (EC) decision declaring state aid for the construction of a new nuclear power station in the United Kingdom to be compatible aid. It sets out the background to the project and briefly summarizes the EC decision before moving into a more detailed analysis of the General Court’s findings. This case is important not least as it concerns the interaction of the Euratom Treaty with the general state aid regime, and the compatibility of support for nuclear power in the EU’s liberalized electricity market. Moreover the court ruling raises questions as to the role of detailed economic analysis in cases where support for particular projects is deemed to be in the ‘public interest’. Furthermore the Court has given some guidance on the scope for member states to rely on Article 194(2) TFEU to determine their own ‘energy mix’.