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EDF targets 2021 start date for Suffolk nuclear plant

EDF is pushing to begin construction of its Sizewell C nuclear power station on the east coast of the England by the end of 2021, the company confirmed on Tuesday.

The French utility will hold its third and final round of consultations with stakeholders on the project in January 2019 and submit planning applications in early 2020, paving the way for a 2021 construction start date, Simone Rossi, EDF Energy chief executive, told delegates at the Energy UK annual conference on Tuesday.

“We believe that Sizewell C fits into a vision of Britain in the future and it has a role to play to replace ageing stations that are now retiring,” said Mr Rossi, who runs the UK-focused arm of EDF.

The company said that replicating what it has learnt with the design and permitting of Hinkley Point C, which the company is currently building in south-west England, could reduce the construction costs of Sizewell by 20 per cent.

This would need to be accompanied by a reduction in the cost of capital, however, he said.

The government is currently considering implementing a new funding model for nuclear power stations dubbed the “regulated asset base”. The RAB model would give investors the comfort of a long term rate of return, overseen by the sector watchdog, based on the value of their regulated asset base, rather than through a negotiated strike price.

Mr Rossi said the RAB model would be “a fair partnership between consumers, policymakers and developers, which would achieve a fair balance between who bears the risks and what is the cost of these risks.”

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EDF Energy secured a deal to build Hinkley Point C that sees them bear the risk of constructing the plant, in return for an electricity price well above the current market rate.


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