Government could take a 20% stake in proposed Sizewell C, report claims

Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng visited Sizewell C to announce £100m funding for Britain's next nuc

Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng visited Sizewell C earlier this year to announce £100m funding for Sizewell C's development. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The proposed Sizewell C nuclear plant could be boosted by the Government taking a 20% stake in the project, it has been reported.

The BBC reports that French developer EDF could also take a 20% stake, with ministers hoping the move will encourage other investors to take up the remaining 60%.

But Stop Sizewell C campaigners yesterday questioned how the Government can make an impartial planning judgement on the project if it is intending to invest in it.

The Planning Inspectorate's report containing its recommendation on the proposals is expected to be made public in late May.

Previous estimates have put the cost of Sizewell C at about £20bn - less than the plant being built at Hinkley Point in Somerset - though the figure could rise with global inflationary pressures.

Earlier this year, the government committed £100m to the project's development. But it now looks set to commit further to it, according to the BBC.

The debate over Sizewell C continues to split opinion, with many welcoming the jobs and skills it would bring to the county, but others arguing the benefits don't outweigh the damage it would do to the Suffolk coast.

Stop Sizewell C

Campaigners projected a message on the Sizewell B dome saying Sizewell C was too costly and two decades too late - Credit: Stop Sizewell C

In a statement, Stop Sizewell C said: "We're outraged the government plans to throw billions of pounds in taxpayers' money at Sizewell C as well as hit households with a nuclear tax on their bills when renewable solutions, insulation, efficiency and energy storage will achieve energy security faster, more cheaply and with much less risk.

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"In intending to take a 20% stake in Sizewell C, the Business Secretary is backing a project over which he is about to make a supposedly impartial planning judgement. This cannot be considered due process in anyone's eyes."

Meanwhile, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi also suggested on Sunday the Government needs to do more to win local support for onshore wind or nuclear power.

Mr Zahawi told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “The way you do that is to make sure the local community has a real say.

“But also we’ve seen great examples of other people where if they build a nuclear power station, within a certain radius of that power station they get free power."

A Sizewell C spokesperson said last week: “We are committed to ensuring that the benefits of Sizewell C will outweigh the impacts during the construction period. Those benefits will include thousands of well-paid local jobs, contracts for local businesses and a boost in training and skills for local communities.”