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27/01/2022

£100m for Sizewell C

Words: Laura Edgar
Money / iStock-185267728

Business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has announced that £110 million will go towards supporting the continued development of the Sizewell C nuclear project in Suffolk.

This announcement follows an extension of the report writing stage of the examination of the project by six weeks.

Lee Rowley, parliamentary under-secretary of state for energy, set out the extension in a written statement after a request was made by the examining authority, the Planning Inspectorate.

Ministers made a commitment to reaching a final investment decision on at least one large-scale nuclear power station during this Parliament. Such a project aims to provide continuous low-carbon electricity at scale to strengthen Britain’s energy security. Discussions between the government and the developer of Sizewell C, EDF, have been continuing since last year.

Kwarteng said: “In light of high global gas prices, we need to ensure Britain’s future energy supply is bolstered by reliable, affordable, low-carbon power that is generated in this country.

“New nuclear energy is not only an important part of our plans to ensure greater energy independence, but to create high-quality jobs and drive economic growth.

“The funding will further support the development of Sizewell C during this important phase of negotiations as we seek to maximise investor confidence in this nationally significant project.”

It is estimated that if a development consent order is granted for the project, it would power the equivalent of six million homes and support up to 10,000 jobs in Suffolk and across the UK.

The £100 million option fee will be invested by EDF into the project to help bring it to maturity, attract investors, and advance to the next phase in negotiations.

Reacting to the cash injection, Greenpeace UK’s policy director Dr Doug Parr said it is “a tacit admission by the government that nuclear is not commercially viable, but they are so fixated on getting 20th-century nuclear technology delivered they’ll just keep throwing taxpayers' money at it”.

“Including all the other subsidy sources, Sizewell C will now have subsidised development, subsidised construction, subsidised power production and subsidised waste management, for a project by a subsidised company. The economics of this project are all over the place, with UK taxpayers left to pick up the tab. Instead of pursuing outdated, costly technologies, it’s time the government got a grip on the clean technology race going on globally and went for 100 per cent renewables power as fast as possible.”

Image credit | iStock

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