Construction of Sizewell C nuclear plant moves a step closer


Development Consent Order was officially triggered after developers met conditions site

Emma Powel from the The Times states plans for the construction of a second new nuclear power plant in Britain have moved a step closer after a development consent order was officially triggered.

Sizewell C in Suffolk is expected to cost about £20 billion and could generate enough energy to power six million homes.

Building permission was granted in July 2022, but with conditions set before construction could start, including road surveys and the establishment of governance groups, which developers have now met.

However, a final investment decision on Sizewell C has not been taken and it is due by the end of this year. The development vehicle for the project is co-owned by the government and EDF, the French state-controlled energy group, but each hopes to reduce their stakes in the construction phase and they are seeking to bring in private investors.

The fundraising process, formally launched in September last year, is continuing. The government has committed £1.2 billion to support the development so far.

Andrew Bowie, the nuclear minister, who visited the site yesterday, said the start of construction was “a major milestone” for Sizewell C.

In 2022, Boris Johnson set out ambitions to build eight nuclear power stations by 2030, although at present Hinkley Point C is the only new nuclear plant under construction in Britain. The project has been much-delayed and is running over its budget.

In a nuclear “roadmap” last week, Rishi Sunak said that he was considering giving the go-ahead for the building of a third nuclear plant, but would give the green light to the project only once an investment decision had been made on Sizewell C.

The government has a target of increasing Britain’s nuclear capacity to 24 gigawatts by 2050, which at present stands at 5.9GW from five power stations, all of them owned by EDF. Four of those plants, capable of generating 4.7GW of power, are due to close by 2028, although the energy group said this month that it was considering extending the lifespan of the power stations.

Alison Downes, executive director of Stop Sizewell C, a campaign group, said: “We are shocked that the government has let loose the bulldozers at Sizewell C, when the finance for this deeply flawed project is, by their own admission, still months away.”