Energy crisis: UK ready to fund huge new nuclear power plant to slash foreign reliance

Energy bill relief 'should go to the poorest' says Melanie Blake

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The Sizewell C facility, which is to be constructed on the Suffolk coast, will be a 3,200 MWe nuclear power station — powerful enough to supply electricity for some six million homes — with two reactors of the European pressurised design. Proposed by a consortium of EDF Energy and the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), the complex is expected to meet a whopping seven percent of the UK’s energy demand. Construction on the project is expected to commence next year at the latest, with the station taking around 9–12 year to reach completion.

Sizewell C is expected to operate for at least 60 years.

It will be located next to the existing Sizewell A and B plants, the former of which is decommissioned but the latter of which is still generating power.

While the Government gave the green light for the development of the new power station back in July this year, negotiations over potential funding have continued.

However, Whitehall sources have indicated that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi are ready to announce financial backing within weeks.

It has been suggested that public investment in the £20billion project could reach a six percent stake.

Confirmation of the Government’s investment would help pave the way for EDF and CGN to raise private capital to fund the rest of the power station’s development.

According to the Sun, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is “massively” behind the Sizewell C plan — having stressed the need to “crack on with more nuclear power stations” in order to boost the country’s energy security.

However, a letter leaked to the Sunday Times has suggested that Treasury Minister and Liz Truss ally Simon Clarke has concerns.

Mr Clarke has reportedly said that the cost of the facility would “materially affect spending and fiscal choices for an incoming government, especially in the context of wider pressures on the public finances.”

Mr Johnson has previously said that he would not be making any major decisions in his role as Prime Minister before he leaves office in early September.

A Government spokesperson told BBC News: “Nuclear power has a key role to play as we work to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and exposure to volatile global gas prices.

“Negotiations are still ongoing on Sizewell C and as these are active and commercially sensitive discussions we cannot comment further.”

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Mr Clarke is not the only one with concerns about the development.

The proposed facility has long been met with disapproval by antinuclear and wildlife campaigners, who have announced that they will be continuing to oppose the project.

A spokesperson for the campaign group Stop Sizewell C told BBC News: “Our next prime minister should call Sizewell C in.

“There are so many better ways to spend billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money than on a project that won’t light a single lightbulb for at least a decade.”

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