Sizewell C has bought the freehold of the land earmarked for a new nuclear power station for an undisclosed sum.

The deal - involving 895 acres of land - paves the way for the company to apply for a nuclear site licence for the site on the Suffolk coast once the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) completes its ongoing assessment, it said.

Sizewell C is majority-owned by the UK government - which is investing £2.5bn in the project -with its development partner EDF Energy a minority stakeholder at just under 50%.  

It has bought the land from the French energy giant - which operates Sizewell B nuclear power station next door.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Most of the land will be used to build a power station complex including two reactor units (EPRs).

The surrounding land will provide space for new wildlife habitats, a temporary construction site, and an accommodation campus for 2,400 workers.

Once construction of the plant is complete, most of the newly purchased land will be restored to grassland, heathland, scrub and deciduous woodland - which is expected over time to boost local biodiversity by 19%.

The announcement today (Monday, March 25) is another milestone for the project, which officially entered its construction phase in January.

The government is looking to raise money from private investors to help fund the project and said this was "continuing to make good progress" with a Final Investment Decision is expected later this year.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Joint managing directors Nigel Cann and Julia Pyke said it was an "important step" demonstrating that Sizewell C is an independent organisation.

“It builds on the progress we are making right across the project in raising additional finance, agreeing contracts with suppliers, and manufacturing key nuclear components," they said.

The company has ramped up its workforce recruitment campaign and is preparing the ground at the construction site so that it can begin bulk earthworks in a few weeks from now.

Nuclear minister Andrew Bowie, said Sizewell C would be a "major piece" of the UK's energy infrastructure, helping it achieve up to 24GW of low-carbon nuclear power by 2050.

“This deal not only secures the land we need to build the power station, it also guarantees the project’s independence as it draws closer to a final investment decision," he said.

Sizewell C will be one of the UK’s biggest clean energy projects, providing low carbon electricity to six million homes for at least 60 years. It will save nine million tonnes of CO2 emissions for every year of operation.

EDF UK chief executive Simone Rossi said his company had successfully extended the lives of the existing fleet following £7.5 billion of investment.

"We are proud to be building the EPR at Hinkley Point C and supporting the replica project at Sizewell C,” he said.

At least 70% of the construction value of Sizewell C will go to UK companies, Sizewell C said.

Those against the project remain unconvinced.  Campaign group Stop Sizewell C claimed EDF had an "appalling" track record of attempting to deliver nuclear European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs).

It questioned why taxpayer money should be invested in the project. "If EDF aren't prepared to put its money into Sizewell C, why should we?" it said.

East Anglian Daily Times: