Sizewell C nuclear station plan gets £1.7billion Budget funding boost in Government 'Net Zero' bid

The government has announced plans to sink £1.7 billion into backing proposals for the Sizewell C nuclear station at Suffolk.

The investment injection was unveiled in the Autumn Budget as part of its Net Zero ambitions this week.

The government is in negotiations with energy giant EDF over plans for the huge nuclear power project, in its bid to transition the UK to “a more resilient energy supply”.

The proposals are subject to planning regulations, and the project has faced opposition from locals concerned about the environment impact.

EDF and its partner China General Nuclear Ltd propose to build the power station north of the existing Sizewell B plant on the Suffolk coast.

Watch ITV News Meridian's explainer on the Sizewell C project:

Sizewell C's two reactors are set to be capable of generating enough low carbon electricity to supply around 5 million homes.

The Chancellor's Budget and Spending Review pledged the funding to help the project reach a final investment decision.

It comes after Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng announced a new financing model for the UK's power plant plans on Tuesday.

The Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill will use Regulated Asset Base (RAB) to fund future stations - the same financing model used to fund the Thames Tideway Tunnel and Heathrow Terminal 5.

An image of what the new nuclear power station at Sizewell would look like. Credit: EDF

The move aims to shift reliance from overseas investors to British pension funds, insurers and other institutional investors, and the government hopes it could save consumers £30 billion over the project's span.

Part of the model includes consumers paying toward some of the nuclear schemes' costs upfront through energy bills.

Previous RAB models used to fund infrastructure have hit consumers in the pocket when costs overran.

The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) said the cost to consumers' bills would likely amount to a "few pounds" during the early phase of construction and less than £1 per month over the course of a project.

Concerns remain about the environmental impact of Sizewell Credit: ITV Anglia

The income generated would allow project developers to finance the project at cheaper rates, which would substantially cut the ultimate cost to consumers, it said.

EDF's boss recently said costs at Sizewell C would be saved by replicating much of the design at Hinkley Point C, in Somerset.

Works are already underway on the £20 billion project, which is due to produce its first unit of power by 2025.

Once finished, it will be the first nuclear power station built in the UK in more than 20 years.

Reacting to the Budget announcement, NIA chief executive Tom Greatrex described the investment as a "big vote of confidence in nuclear."

He added: “We can’t get to net zero without investing in new nuclear capacity, and this is a clear signal from government to investors that it sees nuclear as essential to our clean energy transition.

"This is not only an investment in a greener future, but also in jobs and skills right across the country.”