December 9 2013 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Correspondent
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Energy giant EDF’s final commitment to build a new nuclear power station in Suffolk may not be made until the end of the decade, energy secretary Ed Davey has admitted.
The Liberal Democrat cabinet minister told parliament that the French owned company was focussing on the project in Sizewell more than it was before in the wake of an agreement over a guaranteed price of energy from Hinkely Point C in Somerset, but was obviously not going to commit to it yet.
In its consultation document EDF said that the government’s policy had identified Sizewell as one of the sites potentially suitable for the deployment of a new nuclear power station by the end of 2025.
But the company said it was too early to give a precise date for a final investment decision for Sizewell C, but the first stage of the consultation was completed in February.
It said the project team continued to focus on the investigative works ahead of further consultation on the detailed proposals.
But asked about the progress towards making Sizewell C a reality by Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, Mr Davey said that while going through the design process for the Somerset plant would shorten the planning time for Sizewell, the final decision was not expected until the end of the decade.
Mr Davey said he knew that EDF wanted to “pursue that matter” of Sizewell but that it has been focusing on Hinkley Point C.
He added: “We are now entering the final stages of the negotiations and we hope to secure the final investment contract next year, at which point I think EDF will turn more towards the question of the Sizewell C opportunity.”
He said that because the European pressurised reactor had gone through the generic design assessment process for Hinkley Point C, it would not have to do so again for Sizewell C.
“That should shorten the period involved. EDF is hoping to be in a position, after obtaining consents from us, regulatory approvals and so on, to make a final investment decision on Sizewell C towards the end of this decade,” he said.
“It is obviously not going to commit to that yet, but it is now focusing on that matter more than it was before,” he added.
The Hinkley Point C power station will be the first to be built in the UK since 1995.