Government throws its support behind future nuclear energy projects, including Sizewell C

Business secretary Greg Clark. Picture: PA.

Business secretary Greg Clark. Picture: PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Proposals to build the Sizewell C nuclear power station have received a significant boost after the business secretary Greg Clarke reaffirmed the government’s commitment to new nuclear projects.

Sizewell A and Sizewell B nuclear power plants - EDF hopes to have Sizewell C sitting alongside. Pic

Sizewell A and Sizewell B nuclear power plants - EDF hopes to have Sizewell C sitting alongside. Picture: SU ANDERSON. - Credit: Archant

Mr Clark said the UK was in a position to build an industry which could provide jobs and investment both here and, further in the future, as an export opportunity.

Mr Clark is currently in talks with Japanese giant Hitachi over taking an “equity stake” in a proposed Wylfa plant near Anglesey. Hitachi-owned Horizon plans to develop the Welsh plant, followed by another in Oldbury.

The business secretary said he believed subsequent nuclear projects, including the French-government owned EDF project at Sizewell C, should be funded by the private sector.

He said: “If we are to achieve the full benefits, cost benefits, but also the industrial and employment benefits, it’s necessary to show that we have a pipeline that is being delivered in steady and orderly way.

“If we do that as we have done in onshore wind, we can establish an industry here that’s not just supplying lower cost for UK consumers but is a big export opportunity too.”

Mr Clark said the government would continue to engage with EDF on the proposals, adding that the UK was likely to need new nuclear capacity to meet carbon reduction commitments.

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Sizewell C would be a near replica of Hinkley Point C, which is the UK’s first nuclear power station since 1995, which is being built in Somerset.

A spokesman for EDF said the new Suffolk plant would be 20% cheaper to construct than Hinkley Point C.

“As well as reducing construction costs, the foresight of planners means that the vital connection to the UK grid is already in place at Sizewell, saving consumers more money. We will use the existing pylons to distribute power for six million homes and businesses. Sizewell C will benefit from a mature supply chain.”

Sizewell C would require 5,600 workers to build the power station at the peak of construction and 900 high skilled workers to operate it.

EDF is currently working with the government to look at alternative financing models that create the conditions where institutional investors like pension funds can participate.