€23.5bn UK nuclear project gets go-ahead

By Murray Pollok21 July 2022

The UK government has approved the £20 billion (€23.5 billion) Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk.

Funding discussions between the developer EDF and the UK government are expected to be finalised next year, paving the way for construction to start on what will be one of the largest construction projects in Europe and the largest zero-carbon project in the UK.

Image of the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station in the UK. (Photo: EDF)

Sizewell C will generate 3.2 GW of power and supply low around six million homes. By displacing fossil fuel electricity, it will avoid around 9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. 

The power station will be built next to Sizewell B and is being developed by EDF – owned by the French state - which is also currently building the Hinkley Point C nuclear project in the UK.

Around 70% of the project’s construction value will be spent with UK-based businesses, with more than 140 major contractors and suppliers to be involved.

The Sizewell C Consortium - a group of 200 UK companies supporting the project - welcomed the decision, tweeting; “Fantastic that Sizewell C has been granted development consent today by [the UK government]. This is a big step for British nuclear, taking Sizewell C and the businesses within our Consortium one step closer to delivering jobs and investment across Britain.”

Consortium members represent a diverse range of companies, including Laing O’Rourke, Atkins, Jacobs, Bilfinger, Sarens, Selwood, Mace, Altrad, BAM Nuttall, Kier, Mammoet, Ainscough, Speedy, GAP Group and Sunbelt Rentals.

Carly Vince, Sizewell C’s Chief Planning Officer, said: “I am delighted that, after months of careful consideration, the Government has given planning consent for Sizewell C. It is a big endorsement of our proposals and supports our view that this is the right project in the right place. 

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.”

The decision was welcomed by the UK’s Nuclear Industry Association. Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the 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.

“Sizewell C will be one of the UK’s largest ever green energy projects, and this decision significantly strengthens the pipeline of new nuclear capacity in Britain.”

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