Energy giant EDF is to press ahead with building the first new nuclear power station in the UK for a generation after final approval from its board.
After years of delay, a board meeting in Paris voted by 10-7 to give the go ahead for the £18 billion Hinkley Point power station.
The vote was closer than expected but was warmly welcomed by business groups and trade unions, with 25,000 jobs now set to be created.
A company statement said: "At its meeting on 28 July 2016, EDF's Board of Directors made the final investment decision and gave the President the authorisation to ensure its full execution in the framework of the signature process of all the contracts and agreements necessary to build the two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C (HPC) in Somerset, in south-west England.
"Following this decision, the conditions have been met to allow EDF to sign the contracts with the British Government, EDF's historic partner China General Nuclear Power Generation (CGN), and the main suppliers of the project.
"The HPC Project is a major element of the Group's CAP 2030 strategy.
"The two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point will strengthen EDF's presence in Britain, a country where its subsidiary EDF Energy already operates 15 nuclear reactors and is the largest electricity supplier by volume.
"HPC will also enable the Group to mobilise all its significant nuclear engineering skills following the final investment decision.
"The first concrete of reactor 1 of HPC, scheduled for mid-2019, will coincide with perfect continuity with the start-up of the EPR at Flamanville, scheduled for the end of 2018.
"HPC is a unique asset for French and British industries as it will benefit the whole of the nuclear sectors in both countries and will support employment at major companies and smaller enterprises in the industry."
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: "The UK needs a reliable and secure energy supply and the Government believes that nuclear energy is an important part of the mix.
"The Government will now consider carefully all the component parts of this project and make its decision in the early autumn."
No signings will be held on Friday and there are no plans for Mr Clark to visit Hinkley.
He only returned to the UK on Thursday after a three-day trade visit to Japan, where he discussed plans for new nuclear plants in this country.
He will now take time to study the details of the board's approval.