Government Net Zero strategy commits to nuclear - what does it mean for Sizewell C?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavi

Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not specify which nuclear power plant is the front-runner to be signed off before the end of the current parliament - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson said the UK had a responsibility to lead the world in decarbonising and that nuclear is a part of that plan.

The Government restated its intention to take a final investment decision on one large scale nuclear project by the end of this Parliament - but Stop Sizewell C campaigners say there is no specific financial support committed for large scale nuclear in the strategy.

The Prime Minister told the Global Investment Summit at the Science Museum that the Government was making "big bets" on electric vehicles, gigafactories for battery production, nuclear and more.

Protesters waved flags at the event on Sunday

A protestor waving a flag at a protest against the site - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Mr Johnson said: "We are making big bets on hydrogen, we are making bets on solar and hydro, and, yes - of course - on nuclear as well, for our baseload."

Responding to Labour's criticisms, energy minister Greg Hands said the last time Labour was in power it took "10 years for Labour to actually do anything at all on nuclear.

"Actually there is new money announced, there is the future nuclear enabling fund - £120 million - for optionality on nuclear for future AMRs (Advanced Modular Reactor). And, of course, we stick to our commitment for a final investment decision on a further nuclear power station to be taken this Parliament."

Alison Downes and Paul Collins outside the Hinkley Campus Picture: ALISON DOWNES/TEAGS

Alison Downes and Paul Collins from Stop Sizewell C outside the Hinkley Campus - Credit: ALISON DOWNES/TEAGS

Stop Sizewell C says that despite speculation there is no more information on funding and perhaps might not be until the Spending Review.

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Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C said: "Our message to government ministers today remains ‘don’t buy Sizewell C’. It’s too damaging, slow and risky and expensive; it may not even work and it’s certainly not green, so don’t waste either your energy and our money on something that would be obsolete before it was completed." 

Paul Collins, of Stop Sizewell C, said: “Sizewell C still doesn’t have planning consent, and may never get it. The negative impacts of the Sizewell project, which far outweigh those at Wylfa in Anglesey where the Planning Inspectorate recommended refusal, should lead to the same result here. 

"It is vitally important that the government takes an objective view of the impacts of Sizewell C."

A spokeswoman for EDF Energy said: "The Net Zero Strategy makes clear the key role that nuclear will play in helping the UK reduce carbon emissions.

"We are pleased that Government is planning to introduce legislation for the RAB funding model which will reduce costs for consumers.  We look forward to seeing the details when the legislation is published."

- An earlier version of this story wrongly stated the Government's Net Zero strategy did not mention Sizewell C. The strategy document states that in December 2020 formal negotiations on Sizewell C began, and those negotiations are ongoing. We apologise for the error.

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