Major drive to create new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK

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Aerial photograph of Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station in Suffolk. Photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Attribution: John Fielding

As part of a major drive to create a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK, steps to further speed up preparations to make the site at Sizewell C in Suffolk shovel-ready have been announced.

Ministers this week have made available a further £341 million of previously allocated funding for development work on the project.

The extra money will help prepare the site for construction, procuring key components from the project’s supply chain, and expanding its workforce.

It will see activity ramp up at the Suffolk site, supporting continued preparation works, such as constructing onsite training facilities for 1500 apprenticeships, further development of the plant’s engineering design, and direct investments in the local community ahead of work starting. The funding would build on the government’s existing £870 million stake and help drive progress towards the long-standing objective of reaching a Final Investment Decision on a new large-scale nuclear project this Parliament.

Sizewell C would provide reliable, low-carbon power to the equivalent of 6 million homes over 60 years – saving the UK as many as 9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. At the peak of construction work, it would support 10,000 jobs nationwide, with 70% of the value of construction contracts in the supply chain going to UK businesses.

Making this funding available is the latest measure to support the government’s plans to rapidly expand nuclear energy in the UK, powering up to a quarter of UK electricity demands by 2050, key to reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels from overseas, providing energy independence and security of supply in Britain.

Minister for Nuclear and Networks Andrew Bowie said:

Sizewell C will be a significant part of the revival of nuclear energy in this country – providing clean, home-grown power to millions of homes, providing thousands of jobs and ending reliance on foreign electricity to bolster our energy security.

Today’s funding announcement is a clear demonstration of the government’s commitment to this vital project, and will mean the site will be shovel-ready, and work able to start, much more quickly.

This is the second tranche of planned government investment this summer, further supporting plans to secure private investment using the newly established Regulated Asset Base (RAB) finance model and bolstering the pledge of taking a final investment decision on Sizewell C this Parliament.

Like Hinkley Point C in Somerset, Sizewell C would comprise two reactors, generating a total of 3.2GW of electricity, equivalent to 7% of the UK’s electricity needs. It would help deliver the government’s ambition for up to 24GW of the UK’s power to come from nuclear sources by 2050 – 4 times the current level.

Sizewell C Company Joint Managing Director, Julia Pyke, said:

This is great news and puts us in an even stronger position to start full construction. It will also allow us to implement several community schemes over the next few months. We want people living near Sizewell C to see the benefits of the project as soon as possible and we’re looking forward to getting started on a range of proposals which will bring real improvements to the area well before the main construction gets underway.

The news follows the launch of a new arms-length body Great British Nuclear (GBN), responsible for helping to deliver new nuclear, grow the economy, drive down bills and boost the country’s energy security. The initial focus of GBN will be on Small Modular Reactors, but further large gigawatt-scale projects will also be considered to help deliver on our net zero ambitions.

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