Sizewell C nuclear plant to receive £100m boost from UK government
Image credit: EDF Energy
Plans to build a new nuclear power plant in the UK have been backed by £100m of government funding to support the continued development of the Sizewell C project in Suffolk.
The funding commitment from Business and Energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will be used to continue the development of the project, which will aim to attract further financing from private investors and, subject to value for money and relevant approvals, the UK government.
“Considering high global gas prices, we need to ensure Britain’s future energy supply is bolstered by reliable, affordable, low-carbon power that is generated,” Kwarteng said. “New nuclear is not only an important part of our plans to ensure greater energy independence, but to create high-quality jobs and drive economic growth.”
Kwarteng added the funding will also further support the development of Sizewell C during this important phase of negotiations as the government seeks to maximise investor confidence in this “nationally significant” project.
Negotiations between the government and Sizewell C project developer EDF Energy started last year. If built, Sizewell C would power the equivalent of about six million homes, as well as support up to 10,000 jobs in Suffolk and across the UK.
Simone Rossi, chief executive of EDF Energy, said: “We’re very pleased that the government is showing its confidence in Sizewell C which, if approved, will lower energy costs for consumers and help to insulate the UK from global gas prices.
“Together with our own investment, these funds will allow us to continue to move the project towards a financial investment decision.”
Rossi said Sizewell C will benefit from being a near replica of Hinkley Point C in Somerset and will provide a “huge economic boost” to east Suffolk where it already enjoys the support of most local people. “It will also bring new opportunities for thousands of nuclear supply chain companies up and down the country,” he added.
Unions have welcomed the development as a step forward, but Unite general secretary Sharon Graham urged the government to “take the handbrake off” and speed up the process.
“The government needs to sit down with EDF now, not later in the year, and agree a funding model that allows Sizewell to start with no further delay,” she said. “If such a funding model requires government support, then it should be given.”
Meanwhile, Greenpeace UK’s policy director Dr Doug Parr said spending taxpayers’ money was an admission that nuclear was not commercially viable. “They are so fixated on getting 20th-century nuclear technology delivered they’ll just keep throwing taxpayers’ money at it.”
He added: “Including all the other subsidy sources, Sizewell C will now have subsidised development, subsidised construction, subsidised power production and subsidised waste management, for a project by a subsidised company.”
The government made up to £1.7bn of new direct funding available at the Spending Review in 2021 for developing a large-scale nuclear project to the point of a final investment decision in this Parliament.
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