£20bn Sizewell C gets planning go-ahead
The 3.2 GW twin-reactor plant is set to become one of the UK’s biggest net zero infrastructure projects, supplying reliable low carbon electricity to around six million homes.
The project promises to offer a seamless follow-on for the Hinkley Point C project promising big savings and efficiencies in construction as well as safeguarding up to 10,000 jobs.
Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “This is a huge step forward for Britain’s energy security and net zero ambitions.
“Sizewell C will provide reliable low-carbon power for more than 80 years, cutting gas use, creating thousands of high-quality, skilled jobs, and long-term investment and opportunity up and down the country.
A spokeswoman for Laing O’Rourke said: “We could have the opportunity to use our learnings from Hinkley Point C to keep improving construction efficiency at Sizewell C and maximise the benefits of replication and a fleet approach to nuclear delivery.
Christophe Junillon, Head of Power New Build at Atkins, said: “Sizewell C is well positioned to play a major part in decarbonising the UK and today’s Development Consent Order decision reaffirms its potential.
“We know that a fleet approach to building new nuclear plants is the best way to reduce costs and maximise efficiencies.
“This decision will help to ensure that the learnings and supply chains established at Hinkley Point C can transfer seamlessly to Sizewell C.”
The decision to grant development consent on Wednesday by business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng ran against independent Planning Inspectorate advice because of concerns over the plant’s impact on protected species and habitats, and the long-term water supply at the site.
Negotiations with the Government on raising funds for the project are continuing and the key Financial Investment Decision is expected next year.
Other approvals required before the project can begin construction include a Nuclear Site Licence from the Office for Nuclear Regulation and permits from the Environment Agency. But planning consent was seen as the major hurdle to clear.
Last month, the Government announced that Sizewell C could be eligible for funding using the so-called Regulated Asset Base (RAB) scheme which will drive down the cost of the project to consumers.
The government plans to take a 20% stake in Sizewell C and the French power giant EDF would also take a 20% share in the £20bn project.
Julia Pyke, Sizewell C’s Financing Director, said: “Energy costs will be lower with nuclear in the mix, so today’s decision is good news for bill-payers.
“The tried and tested funding arrangement we are proposing means that, by paying a small amount during construction, consumers will benefit in the long-term.
“Sizewell C will give a big boost to jobs and skills in nuclear supply chain companies across the country. It will strengthen the UK’s energy security and play a key role in our fight against climate change.
“Planning approval brings us closer to delivering the huge benefits of this project to Suffolk and to the UK.”