The government has begun negotiations with EDF about the construction of a new £20bn Sizewell C power station in Suffolk. It could generate 3.2 gigawatts of electricity, enough to provide 7% of Britain’s energy (sic) needs.
BBC 14th Dec 2020 read more »
The government will restart talks with EDF on its plan to build a nuclear reactor at Sizewell C in Suffolk, and may take a direct financial stake in its construction. The latest round of negotiations over the £20bn nuclear reactor will focus on whether EDF can prove that it has learned lessons from the Hinkley Point nuclear project, and that a successor plant would offer the public value for money. The government said it is considering a new deal to help the French state-owned energy company finance Sizewell, which may include taking a direct stake in the project and putting taxpayers on the hook for any cost overruns. A statement from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said it would consider a greater role in the project provided there is “clear value for money for consumers and taxpayers”. The decision to restart formal negotiations comes after a hiatus in talks which have been dogged by concerns over cost, and the involvement of China General Nuclear Power (CGN) which holds a 20% stake in the project. CGN is reportedly considering backing out of the project, which would leave a financing gap for EDF if the UK government is unwilling to help pay for the construction costs. The government is also considering support for a new generation of small modular nuclear reactors, or “mini nukes”, which can be built at a lower cost.
Guardian 14th Dec 2020 read more »
Boris Johnson has approved the start of negotiations with EDF about funding a new £20 billion nuclear power plant despite concerns that taxpayers would foot the bill for any extra costs. The government is considering backing Sizewell C, a twin-reactor plant in Suffolk. It could generate 3.2 gigawatts of electricity, enough to provide 7 per cent of Britain’s energy needs. The move is a vital part of the prime minister’s pledge to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Most reactors are due to shut down this decade, leading to fears of blackouts in the 2030s. China General Nuclear Power (CGN), a Chinese state company, has a 20 per cent stake in Sizewell C but is thought to be planning to pull out, increasing the need for new investors. The government is considering taking an equity stake in the plant amid concerns that private investment could still leave it with multibillion-pound liabilities. Taking an equity stake would allow taxpayers to benefit from any profits. Sizewell C is now the only project in contention for government investment. The government offered to take a one-third stake in Hitachi’s Wylfa plant on Anglesey, but the Japanese company cancelled it in September. The announcement of talks with EDF comes as the government publishes its energy white paper, which includes plans to switch consumers to cheaper tariffs automatically.
Times 14th Dec 2020 read more »
Boris gives the green light on £20bn Sizewell C nuclear plant: Government opens talks with French energy giant EDF on funding Suffolk power station.
Daily Mail 14th Dec 2020 read more »
The £20bn project being developed by France’s EDF and China’s CGN could produce about 7pc of the nation’s electricity from the early 2030s. Years on the drawing board, it is approaching a make-or-break moment. The Government is deciding what sort of public support they should give to new large nuclear plants including Sizewell C, which is currently the only project on the table but needs public backing to happen. More details are expected in an energy white paper as soon as Monday, amid intense debate over the shape of the rapidly evolving energy sector. For its backers, nuclear is too serious a contender to ignore. “Just to turn off any of this [energy sources] – to me that’s a bit like sailing off in a ship and saying, ‘we will leave the life jackets on shore’,” says Declan Foy, operations technician at Sizewell B. Much has changed since Sizewell C was first proposed in 1989 and earmarked in 2010 as one of eight sites for potential nuclear power stations to replace the current ageing nuclear fleet, most of which will close by 2035. Subsidies have driven a boom in wind power, which generated about 20pc of UK electricity in 2019 – roughly the same as nuclear’s annual output, but with lower and rapidly falling costs. Both the Government and its advisors the Climate Change Committee are broadly supportive of nuclear power, but no-one is prepared to write the industry a blank cheque. Under CCC projections, nuclear will cost £85-£105 per MWh in 2050 depending on the energy mix, compared to £25-£40 per MWh for offshore wind. But backers argue comparing the costs directly is unfair, since the system needs a mix of technologies. Ministers have been considering a funding model under which billpayers start paying for the plant during construction, in the hopes this will bring down costs and encourage private investment, by reducing risk. They are also considering direct government funding during construction. CGN has said it will self-finance a plant it wants to build next in Bradwell, Essex, using its own HPR 1000 reactor technology – posing a further test of the Government’s appetite for Chinese involvement in nuclear energy, amid heightened political tensions. It holds a 20pc stake in the development phase of Sizewell C, with an option to invest further after a final investment decision is made. Questions are being raised within industry over whether it will do so. Meanwhile, away from the corridors of Government, the Sizewell C project, which will involve about a decade of construction, has aroused major concern in the local area. Anti-Sizewell C campaign posters pop-up along the roads nearby, while more than 1,300 people have written to planning authorities – mostly to object due to fears such as environmental destruction.
Telegraph 14th Dec 2020 read more »