Lord Marland, the Government’s energy spokesman in the Lords, insisted the deal will be sealed by the end of the year, despite the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant.
It will then be up to Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey to apply for planning permission to install new reactors at the plant, ten miles from Bridgwater in Somerset.
Lord Marland said: “It has been 27 years since a new nuclear power station was commissioned and we are on the cusp of commissioning one in this country at Hinkley Point.
“In December this year, given all the difficulties we have encountered with Fukushima and things like that, we will have the planning process before the Secretary of State (Mr Davey) for him to apply.”
But Labour’s Lord Davies of Stamford criticised the Government for not acting quickly enough, telling peers “not a single firm commitment” had been made to build a new nuclear power station.
He said: “Isn’t it time a greater degree of urgency on this matter is displayed by the Government, including by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor?”