Sizewell C and Bradwell B opportunities highlighted at Westminster event
PUBLISHED: 16:00 14 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:23 15 March 2018
Business leaders and politicians from the East of England have been given an insight into the potential boost to the region's economy if proposals for new nuclear power stations in Suffolk and Essex go ahead.
They were among the guests at a supply chain event in Westminster at which EDF Energy unveiled a report on the social and economic impact of the Hickley Point C nuclear project in Somerset, on which it has already started work.
The report shows that more than £465m-worth of contracts have been awarded in the South-West as a result of the development. In addition, a third of the jobs created are expected to be filled by local people and nearly 200 apprenticeships have already been created.
EDF Energy and its partner, China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) is also behind the plans for the Sizewell C project in Suffolk and hopes to follow that with a Bradwell B development in Essex.
Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has been working with with EDF Energy for several years to promote the opportunities which Sizewell C represents for local firms and was among the organisatioins at the Westminster event.
John Dugmore, Suffolk Chamber’s chief executive said: “Today’s event shows how new nuclear can support the regional economy and can give a long-lasting boost to regional and local businesses.
“There are more than 1,100 businesses registered on the Sizewell C supply chain database,” he added. “These businesses are showing they want to get involved in the project, they want new nuclear in the region, they want the certainty it brings and the investment it enables them to make in their business.”
Jim Crawford, Sizewell C project development director, said: “Nuclear has a bigger impact on jobs and skills than any other technology, especially compared to importing energy. We are determined to use that impact to leave a positive legacy and today’s report shows that we are delivering on our promises.
“We are working with bodies like the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce to get region fit for nuclear so local businesses can have the same success as those in Somerset. Bradwell B in Essex would follow the Sizewell project – multiplying the positive effect on people and the economy from Sizewell B and C.”
A number of companies in Suffolk and Essex have already benefited from Britain’s new nuclear build programme by winning contracts as part of the Hinkley Point C project.
Colchester-based Ovivo, which was among the firms at the supply chain event in Westminster, secured a £27m deal last July to design and manufacture the cooling water filter system for the Somerset development.
Most of the design work is taking place in Colchester with the equipment being manufactured at a number of locations, around 80% of it in the UK.
Precast concrete products company Poundfield, which is based at Creeting St Peter, near Stowmarket, has supplied 150 of its interlocking Alfablocs for use in the on-site storage of aggregates and other bulk materials at Hinkley Point.
And offshore construction equipment specialist Red7Marine, which is based at Wrabness, near Manningtree, and has an operational yard in Ipswich, has supplied a jack-up barge to assist operations at the site.
Like Hinkley Point C, Sizewell C will involve a twin reactor development using third generation EPR pressurised water reactor technology.
It is likely to become the world’s seventh or eighth EPR power station, with the first schemes, in Finland, France and China, having suffered a number of delays but now being expected to become operational during 2018 or 2019.
EDF Energy says that the cost of building Sizewell C will be significantly cheaper than Hinkley Point C – the UK’s first EPR – perhaps by as much as 20%. In addition, the infrastructure for connecting the new Suffolk development to the National Grid is already in place.
The first two out of three consultation stages for Sizewell C have been completed, ahead of the submission of a planning application.
Although no timeline for construction has been confirmed, it is thought that , subject to approval , Sizewell C could become operational in 2031 – six years after Hinkley Point C is likely to start generating electricity.
The proposed Bradwell B nuclear power station involves a new reactor design, known as UKHPR1000, which is currently undergoing Generic Design Assessment, or GDA.
This process is independently controlled by the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency and is intended to ensure that designs for proposed nuclear power stations in the UK meet safety, security, environmental protection and waste management standards.
The four-step process started in January last year, moving on to the second step in November, and is expected to take around five years to complete.
In the meantime, EDF Energy and its partner CGN have commenced technical assessments on the proposed site, with some of the work having already required planning consent from Maldon District Council.
No timescale has yet been announced for the start of formal consultation with the local community or the submission of a full planning application for the power station itself.