Work on Sizewell C ‘could start at end of 2021’

EDF Energy managing director for nuclear development Humphrey Cadoux Hudson Picture: EDF ENERGY

EDF Energy managing director for nuclear development Humphrey Cadoux Hudson Picture: EDF ENERGY - Credit: Archant

EDF Energy has restated its commitment to building Sizewell C power station as its nuclear development boss outlined a timetable for the works.

Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson told a packed Global Engineering Congress in London that a third round of consultation on the controversial scheme will begin in January 2019.

A planning application for Sizewell C could be submitted in 2020 and the ideal time for construction to begin would be at the end of 2021, he said.

The firm hopes the works can mirror closely its works at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, currently home to a 3,300-strong construction team and making “good progress” towards its next 2019 milestone - the completion of the 4,500 tonne concrete platform on which the reactor buildings sit.

Mr Cadoux-Hudson said that by being a close copy of Hinkley Point, Sizewell C could be built at significantly lower cost, adding that it needed to be built soon after Hinkley in order to achieve the biggest savings.

“There is an optimal distance between the two projects which is about five years. Hinkley Point construction started at the end of 2016 and so the best moment to start construction at Sizewell C is at the end of 2021. The further we wait, the lower the construction benefits will be because the supply chain may not be the same and skills could be forgotten.”

EDF Energy’s third period of consultation will run until March after which an application will be submitted for a development consent order (DCO).

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“Sizewell C would become an engine for economic growth in the East of England and could generate around 25,000 job opportunities during construction,” Mr Cadoux-Hudson said.

“We have a great opportunity at Sizewell C to build a near replica which would allow us to reduce the design costs. It would also reduce the development costs and we would profit from a skilled and experienced supply chain as well as lower qualification costs and paper work. All of that means a reduction in construction costs of about 20% which will eventually flow through to consumers.”

Nuclear energy should continue to provide around 20% to 25% of Britain’s low carbon electricity needs in order to meet climate commitments, and the amount of renewables should double to 60% as gas is reduced and coal closes, the congress was told.

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