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Plans for Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk receive £100million backing from Government



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Plans to build a new nuclear power plant on the Suffolk coast have received £100million of Government funding.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has today committed the funding to continue the development of the Sizewell C project, being run by energy company EDF.

Negotiations between the Government and EDF have been ongoing since last year.

A CGI showing how the new twin reactor at Sizewell C would look if it is built. Picture: EDF Energy/Sizewell C.
A CGI showing how the new twin reactor at Sizewell C would look if it is built. Picture: EDF Energy/Sizewell C.

If built, Sizewell C would power the equivalent of around six million homes, supporting up to 10,000 jobs in Suffolk and across the UK.

Mr Kwarteng said new nuclear stations were important to ensure 'greater energy independence' and create high-quality jobs and drive economic growth.

However, Unite the union, which represents workers throughout the construction and energy sectors, said the Government needed to 'take the handbrake off' on the development of new nuclear power stations.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: "The Government needs to sit down with EDF now, not later in the year, and agree a funding model that allows Sizewell to start without any further delay.

"If such a funding model requires Government support, then it should be given.

“Any further delay in bringing forward the final decision on building Sizewell will be disastrous, as the vital skills that have been learned and developed at Hinkley Point, could be lost and fail to transfer to the new project.”

“Sizewell will create tens of thousands of jobs both on site and in the supply chain. Delays could see these jobs lost to overseas competitors.

"Nuclear construction workers need a clear on site date, as do EDF consumers and the country as a whole.

"Why is it the Government are unable to see or understand this?"

The £100million is an option fee, which will be invested by EDF into the project to help attract investors, and see the project advance to the next phase in negotiations.

The Government will then take certain rights over the land of the Sizewell C site and EDF’s shares in the Sizewell C company, providing opportunities to continue to develop nuclear or alternative low carbon energy infrastructure on the site should the project not ultimately be successful.

If Sizewell C reaches a Final Investment Decision, the Government will be reimbursed the £100 million option fee, either in the form of cash or an equity stake in the project.

If the project does not reach that stage, the Government would ask for either the Sizewell C Company shares or the Sizewell C site or, if EDF is unable to provide these assets as requested by Government, the money will be refunded by EDF together with a financing return.

No decisions, including on the final configuration of Sizewell C’s investors, have yet been made.

The announcement of the funding from the Government comes as the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill, which will enable a Regulated Asset Base (RAB) funding model framework for new nuclear projects, passes through Parliament.

Under a RAB funding model framework a company receives a licence from an economic regulator to charge a regulated price to consumers in exchange for providing the infrastructure in question.

It is estimated that RAB could lower the cost of each new large-scale nuclear power projects by more than £30billion, compared to the existing Contracts for Difference model.

The RAB model is also expected to reduce Britain’s reliance on overseas developers for finance by 'substantially' widening the pool of private investors to include British pension funds, insurers and other institutional investors from like-minded countries.