Sizewell C nuclear power station decision pushed back amid Westminster turmoil

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Thursday 07 July 2022 18:41

The government has delayed a decision on whether to approve a new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk, following political unrest in Westminster.

A delayed decision was expected today but was pushed back to July 20 by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

It follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that he would step down earlier today after a two-day political power struggle in Downing Street.

The government has also delayed a decision on whether to open a new deep coal mine in Cumbria, which would have been the first in three decades.

Sizewell C is a 3.2 GW twin reactor nuclear power plant project, which is supervised by EDF.

The French energy giant thinks it can power six million homes.

It is set to be the next power station in the country’s “big new bet” on nuclear after Hinkley Point C – which is currently under construction.

Last month, the plant was selected by the government as a candidate for public funding under the regulated asset base model, which is part of the nuclear funding bill.

Earlier this year, Kwarteng unveiled the UK’s security of supply strategy, which included a commitment to increase nuclear power generation from 7GW to 24GW over the next three decades.

Nonetheless, Sizewell C has faced criticism over the potential costs – with estimates for the plant ranging from £20 billion to £35 billion.

City AM, covered the Sizewell C construction project earlier this year, where plant finance manager Julia Pyke argued that long-term dividends such as security of supply meant that Disruption cost issues would outweigh any concerns.

She said: “For me it’s kind of like, was the 1858 sewer system behind schedule and over budget? Yes it was. Do you wish London had no sewage system? No, you don’t. Was the Victorian London Underground built late and over budget? Yes it was. Wish you didn’t have the Circle Line? No, you don’t. So there is a lack of proportionality in how people perceive the cost of these megaprojects.


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