Sizewell C gets extra government funding

6 September 2022

Outgoing UK prime minister Boris Johnson has said the UK government will provide £700 million in funding for the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power plant.

He noted that this is “just part of the £1.7bn of government funding available for developing a large-scale nuclear project to final investment stage in this Parliament.”

Sizewell C is expected to consist of two EPR reactors producing 3200 MWe. It would be a replica of the Hinkley Point C plant, under construction in southwest England. EDF Energy submitted a development consent order, ie a planning application, for the plant in May 2020, which was granted in July this year. EDF is expected to make a final investment decision later this year or in 2023. "We must pull our national finger out and get on with Sizewell C,” said Johnson.

The UK government allocated £100 million in funding to develop the project in January, and also carried legislation through parliament to allow funding of new large infrastructure projects based on a Regulated Asset Base (RAB) funding model. The government retained the option to take a 20% stake in the Sizewell C project.

"This new reactor is just a part of our Great British nuclear campaign. We will build a reactor a year again. We will build them across the country, at least eight of them, large ones, and small modular reactors," Johnson stated.

Nuclear Industry Association CEO Tom Greatrex welcomed the announcement as another important step toward starting construction at Sizewell C. "The next government should sustain this momentum by giving nuclear the green label it deserves in the sustainable investment taxonomy and getting Sizewell C over the line. Sizewell C should be the start on a new era of nuclear construction to ensure our energy security for the rest of the century."

GMB union national secretary Andy Prendergast said the funding was a “belated step in the right direction” but “years of political failure to make the right decision on new nuclear means we are woefully unprepared for the energy crisis facing us today”.

The project is facing opposition from environmentalists and local residents. The Together Against Sizewell C group has launched legal proceedings over the government’s decision to approve the project. TASC believes that fundamental legal errors were made, particularly in respect of water, alternatives to nuclear power, local wildlife and climate change.

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