The proposed Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk has received a pledge of £100m from the UK government, a market signal designed to attract further outside investment.
Led by French nuclear giant EDF Energy – also the lead on Somerset’s Hinkley C – the estimated £20bn Sizewell C would produce 3.2GW of electricity, powering around six million UK homes. In the face of increasing gas prices, the £100m announcement is being hailed by both the UK government and EDF as a timely one, despite the fact that power from the nuclear plant would be more than a decade away.
“We’re very pleased that the government is showing its confidence in Sizewell C which, if approved, will lower energy costs for consumers and help to insulate the UK from global gas prices,” said Simone Rossi, CEO of EDF Energy. “Together with our own investment, these funds will allow us to continue to move the project towards a financial investment decision.
“Sizewell C will benefit from being a near replica of Hinkley Point C in Somerset which is more than 5 years into construction and making great progress in the challenging context of the COVID pandemic. Sizewell C will provide a huge economic boost to East Suffolk where it already enjoys the support of most local people. It will also bring new opportunities for thousands of nuclear supply chain companies up and down the country.”
If the project goes ahead, the government will be reimbursed the £100m with either cash or equity in the overarching company. However, if a final investment decision is not reached, the government will seek reimbursement via either the development company, a claim on the site, or directly from EDF. It is claimed that a green light for the project would mean 10,000 jobs created in Suffolk and across the UK. The £100m announcement has been welcomed by the wider nuclear community.
“This is another big step forward for Sizewell C and a big vote of confidence in nuclear,” said Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA). “It sends a clear signal from government to investors that it sees projects like Sizewell C as essential to our clean energy transition.
“Investment in new nuclear capacity is essential to us hitting net zero to ensure a solid foundation of reliable low-carbon power which will strengthen our energy security. This is not only an investment in the UK’s green energy future but also in jobs and skills right across the country.”