Government to kick off talks over Sizewell C nuclear power plant
Image credit: EDF
The UK government is set to begin discussions regarding the construction of a new £20bn nuclear power station in Sizewell, Suffolk.
The site, located near the coast, is already home to a pair of nuclear power stations: Sizewell A and Sizewell B. Sizewell B is still operational, under the management of EDF Energy.
The Sizewell C project – which has been proposed by EDF Energy and China General Nuclear Power Group – would build a 3.2GW power station with two EPR reactors. It will be almost identical to Hinkley Point C, which is being built by EDF in Somerset. Sizewell C would generate enough electricity to power six million homes, meeting seven per cent of the UK’s energy demand. According to EDF, this would avoid nine million tonnes of carbon emissions every year, compared to a gas-fired power station.
The government said that the discussions are part of its “options to enable investment in at least one nuclear power station by the end of this Parliament”. Any deal will be subject to a range of requirements, ranging from affordability to national security requirements.
“Today’s plan establishes a decisive and permanent shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels, towards cleaner energy sources that will put our country at the forefront of the global green industrial revolution,” said Alok Sharma, business and energy secretary.
“Through a major programme of investment and reform, we are determined to both decarbonise our economy in the most cost-effective way, while creating new sunrise industries and revitalising our industrial heartlands that will support new green jobs for generations to come.
“At every step of the way, we will place affordability and fairness at the heart of our reforms, unleashing a wave of competition so consumers get the best deals possible on their bills, while protecting the vulnerable and fuel-poor with additional financial support.”
EDF’s UK CEO Simon Rossi said: “We’re right behind net zero and by investing in renewables and nuclear at Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C, we’re supporting decarbonisation while creating jobs across the UK. We will continue to help our customers find affordable, low-carbon ways to travel and heat their homes and businesses.
“The time for action is now and we look forward to working with the government to implement its energy and climate policies, including the financing of new nuclear.”
Meanwhile, the government has published its Energy White Paper, which builds on the government’s '10-point plan' for decarbonisation. The paper emphasises keeping energy bills affordable and protecting jobs through the transition to net zero.
The plan includes:
- Establishing a more ambitious emissions trading scheme from next year to replace the current EU scheme.
- Exploring financial options for new nuclear power plants.
- Delivering 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, including 1GW of floating wind.
- Investing £1bn in carbon capture and storage.
- Aiming for 5GW of hydrogen production by 2030.
- Investing £1.3bn to accelerate the rollout of EV charging points.
- Supporting the North Sea oil and gas transition for people and communities affected.
Emma Pinchbeck, CEO at Energy UK, commented: “Today’s White Paper reveals the scale and opportunity of the energy transition, with aims in it to at least double the amount of clean electricity produced today, start making our homes warmer and greener, and help the switch to electric vehicles.”
“The energy industry will do our bit to innovate, supporting our customers so that they benefit from the net zero transition and investing in the green infrastructure we need – but clear policies from government help us do that. This is what the White Paper – and other publications over the next year – should provide.”
Hugh McNeal, CEO at Renewable UK, said: “Today’s white paper provides greater clarity to the companies investing across the UK to deliver our net zero emissions target. Wind and renewable energy will be at the centre of our future energy system, providing the clean electricity and green hydrogen we need to decarbonise our economy.”
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The IET online conference, Nuclear engineering for safety, control and security will be taking place on 24 - 25 March 2021. Find out more at nuclear.theiet.org.
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