London approves new Sizewell C nuclear power plant project
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The British government announced today that the Sizewell C nuclear power plant project, for which France’s EDF is the main partner, has received “development authorization” from Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng.

The project “involves the construction of a new nuclear power plant that produces reliable, low-carbon electricity to help” the country reach the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, according to a statement, which states that the plant could meet 6 million homes.

London has made the development of nuclear power one of the priorities of its energy strategy, but many of its 15 reactors are at end of life and the only plant currently under construction, Hinkley Point C, a project also led by EDF (Électricité de France) by CGN (China General Nuclear Power) of China, has seen costs soar and will not open until 2027.

In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis driven by rising energy bills, and with the war in Ukraine putting energy independence back in the spotlight, the UK wants to accelerate the development of nuclear power.

It plans up to eight new reactors by 2050 at some of its eight designated nuclear facilities, with the aim of supplying 25% of electricity demand.

Sizewell C is a £20 billion power plant project, featuring two 3.2GW EPR reactors, in which EDF has an 80% stake, again alongside China’s CGN, which owns the rest.

While China’s influence on British strategic assets is regularly denounced by Conservative MPs, putting pressure on the government, the statement does not specify whether the CGN will continue to be a partner or if it will finally be expelled, as has been reported in the British press for months.

The spokespersons for the Ministry of Energy, contacted by AFP, were not available at the moment.

London had announced in January that it would inject an additional £100m into the development of Sizewell C, located in Suffolk on the east coast of the country, “to attract further funding from private investors”.

And the British government’s October budget guidelines set up to £1.7 billion that could be spent on developing the project, in which London could take a direct stake.

The executive announced in October a new financing model for his nuclear power projects that will shift part of the cost to people’s energy bills but is expected to lower the overall cost of expensive reactors.

Source: With Agencies

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