The first of a planned new generation of nuclear power plants in the UK has been given approval.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey told MPs in the Commons that he was granting planning consent for French energy giant EDF to construct Hinkley Point C in Somerset.
The proposed £14bn power plant would be capable of powering five million homes.
Mr Davey said the project was “of crucial national importance” but environmental groups reacted angrily.
The building of Hinkley Point C is expected to pave the way for a fleet of new plants across the UK.
It is estimated the project will create between 20,000 and 25,000 jobs during construction and 900 permanent jobs once in operation.
BBC industry correspondent John Moylan said the power plant would cost more than the London 2012 Olympics.
Mr Davey told the Commons: “The planning decision to give consent to Hinkley Point follows a rigorous examination from the Planning Inspectorate, and detailed analysis within my department.
“This planned project adds to a number of new energy projects consented since May 2010, including wind farms and biomass and gas-fired power stations.
“It will benefit the local economy, through direct employment, the supply chain and the use of local services.”
The news is a boost to the nuclear industry following a series of setbacks in plans to construct a new fleet of reactors in the UK, which ministers say are needed to cut carbon and keep the lights on.