EDF Energy announced today it has applied to the Planning Inspectorate for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to build the Sizewell C nuclear power plant on the Suffolk coast of England. The application, which follows four rounds of public consultation that began in 2012, was deferred for two months "in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances created by the Coronavirus", the French-owned company said.The Sizewell C project design (Image: EDF Energy)
If approved, Sizewell C will supply around six million homes with "always-on, low-carbon electricity made in the UK" that avoids the emission of nine million tonnes of CO2 compared to producing 3.2GW of electricity from gas-powered generation, EDF Energy said. The plant will support the expansion of renewables and improve the country’s “national resilience” by reducing the need for energy imports, it said.
Construction work will create 25,000 jobs and 1000 apprenticeships, with up to 70% of this going to UK companies. Once operational, it will employ 900 people in high-skilled positions.
Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, managing director of Sizewell C, said the infrastructure project would kick-start the economy following the pandemic. "It will offer thousands of high-quality job opportunities and long-term employment for people living in Suffolk and it will strengthen the nuclear supply chain across the country," he said.
After the DCO application has been submitted there will be a 28-day period during which the Planning Inspectorate will assess whether the application is complete. Documents are not made public at this stage. If the application is accepted, the period for public registration will be extended to make it easier for people to participate. Full public examination is not expected to begin until the autumn.Financing
Sizewell C will be a near replica of Hinkley Point C (HPC), which EDF Energy is building in Somerset and, like HPC, it will be able to supply 7% of the UK's electricity once it enters commercial operation. At about GBP18 billion (USD22 billion), EDF Energy has said that Sizewell C will be cheaper to build than HPC, the estimated cost of which is between GBP21.5 billion and GBP22.5 billion.
Under a strategic investment agreement signed in October 2016, China General Nuclear (CGN) agreed to take a 33.5% stake in the HPC project, as well as jointly develop new nuclear power plants at Sizewell and at Bradwell, which is in Essex. The HPC and Sizewell C plants will be based on France's EPR reactor technology, while the Bradwell plant will feature the HPR1000 (Hualong One) design.
HPC is being financed by EDF and CGN, with a contract-for-difference (CfD) already agreed with the UK government to provide long-term price stability for the generator once the plant begins generating (but leaving construction and operating risk with the investors). The CfD model was seen as appropriate as HPC was the first new nuclear project to begin construction in the UK for a generation.
The government is considering a regulated asset based (RAB) model for Sizewell C that EDF Energy says would reduce the cost of new nuclear power plant projects by having consumers pay upfront through their energy bills. The government said last year that the RAB model had the potential to reduce the cost of raising private finance for new nuclear projects. In its statement today, EDF Energy said the Sizewell C project will aim to be majority owned by UK investors.Support
To coincide with EDF Energy's DCO application, Energy for Humanity urged the secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to make a statement in support of the development of Sizewell C.
In an open letter to Alok Sharma, it wrote that such a statement would be "particularly meaningful" as the UK continues preparations for hosting COP26, now in 2021, "where we have called for nuclear energy to be appropriately represented as the world’s second largest source of clean energy".
Energy for Humanity is a UK-based non-profit organisation focused on solving climate change and enabling universal access to modern energy services.
Researched and written by World Nuclear News