Video: New visitor centre opened at Sizewell B as EDF chief executive warns commitment to Sizewell C not yet a 'done deal'
PUBLISHED: 17:40 11 December 2012
THE chief executive of EDF Energy has warned that a commitment to build a third nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast was not yet a "done deal".
Vincent de Rivaz today made clear that while he was confident of reaching an agreement with the Government over its Contracts for Difference - long-term contracts to provide stable and predictable incentives for companies to invest in low-carbon electricity generation - if a balance could not be found then the Sizewell C project could be in doubt. Mr de Rivaz was speaking at the launch of a new visitor centre at Sizewell B - one of seven such facilities that will be opened by EDF at its nuclear power stations around the country. More than 600 people have already applied to visit the centre, which features interactive displays, as well as incorporating a tour of Sizewell B itself.
The majority of visits will be organised for schools and educational groups but members of the public will also be able to attend by prior appointment to allow bosses to carry out full security checks. Youngsters from Alde Valley School in Leiston were on hand to try out the displays along with Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, who together with Mr de Rivaz officially opened the centre. Mr de Rivaz said: “We have said for some time that openness and transparency has to be at the heart of everything we do in our business. This visitor centre is about developing relationships with the community and recognising that we have a responsibility to communicate and educate as well as to listen.” Addressing the issue of Sizewell C he said there had been huge progress in 2012 and he was confident that would continue - including further consultation with the local community. He said discussions were under way with the Government over its Contracts for Difference and stressed the need for it to find a balance that was right for investors and fair to EDF’s customers. While this had taken longer than expected he was confident they would be in a position to make a decision early next year, he added.
“Balance means a deal which is rewarding for the investor and our customers,” he said. “I can make you a promise today - there will be balance or there will not be a deal. We are working hard to get ourselves ready to deliver - at the same time we can’t say it’s a done deal. We have to all work together.”
Sizewell B station director Jim Crawford said by opening the visitor centre they wanted to inspire young people about science, technology and engineering. “It will allow us to introduce people to our operation in a safe, informative and attractive environment,” he said.