The Government has today announced that it will build on previous investment to rapidly expand nuclear energy in the UK. The department for energy and net zero, along with Great British Nuclear, have set out how a £341 million boost will add to the existing £870 million worth of funding to quicken the establishing of Sizewell C.
The Government claims that Sizewell C would “boost the UK’s energy security and help drive Putin further out of global energy markets”. In the aim to power up to 1/4 of UK electricity demands by 2050 through nuclear energy, the extra £341 million will help prepare the site for construction, procuring key components from the project’s supply chain, and expanding its workforce. The Government adds that Sizewell C would provide reliable, low-carbon power to the equivalent of 6 million homes over 60 years – saving the UK as many as 9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. At the peak of construction work, Sizewell C is predicted to support 10,000 jobs nationwide, with 70% of the value of construction contracts in the supply chain going to UK businesses.
Sizewell C is set to see activity ramp up at the Suffolk site, supporting continued preparation works, such as constructing onsite training facilities for 1500 apprenticeships, further development of the plant’s engineering design, and direct investments in the local community ahead of work starting. The funding would build on the government’s existing £870 million stake and help drive progress towards the long-standing objective of reaching a Final Investment Decision on a new large-scale nuclear project this Parliament.
This is the second tranche of planned government investment this summer, further supporting plans to secure private investment using the newly established Regulated Asset Base (RAB) finance model and bolstering the pledge of taking a final investment decision on Sizewell C this Parliament. Like Hinkley Point C in Somerset, Sizewell C would comprise 2 reactors, generating a total of 3.2GW of electricity, equivalent to 7% of the UK’s electricity needs. It would help deliver the government’s ambition for up to 24GW of the UK’s power to come from nuclear sources by 2050 – 4 times the current level.
The news follows the launch of a new arms-length body Great British Nuclear (GBN), responsible for helping to deliver new nuclear, grow the economy, drive down bills and boost the country’s energy security. The initial focus of GBN will be on Small Modular Reactors, but further large gigawatt-scale projects will also be considered to help deliver on our net zero ambitions.
Minister for Nuclear and Networks Andrew Bowie said “Sizewell C will be a significant part of the revival of nuclear energy in this country – providing clean, home-grown power to millions of homes, providing thousands of jobs and ending reliance on foreign electricity to bolster our energy security. Today’s funding announcement is a clear demonstration of the government’s commitment to this vital project, and will mean the site will be shovel-ready, and work able to start, much more quickly”.
Sizewell C Company Joint Managing Director, Julia Pyke, said “this is great news and puts us in an even stronger position to start full construction. It will also allow us to implement several community schemes over the next few months. We want people living near Sizewell C to see the benefits of the project as soon as possible and we’re looking forward to getting started on a range of proposals which will bring real improvements to the area well before the main construction gets underway”.
Nuclear Power stations like Sizewell C will have a range of benefits; from helping to reach net zero through cutting carbon emission, to providing jobs and reducing reliance on fossil fuels from abroad.