Sizewell C: Decision on controversial third nuclear reactor on Suffolk coast delayed for six weeks

A decision on plans to build a new nuclear power station at Sizewell has been delayed until July. Credit: PA

An imminent decision by the government on whether a new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk will be built has been delayed until July.

In a written statement to the House of Commons, Paul Scully, a minister at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said more time was needed consider the application by EDF Energy.

The current statutory deadline for the decision on the Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station application is 25 May 2022.

Mr Scully said: "I have decided to set a new deadline of no later than 8 July 2022 for deciding this application.

"This is to ensure there is sufficient time to fully consider further information provided by the applicant and interested parties in response to the secretary of state’s post-examination consultation."

There are already two nuclear reactors on the Suffolk coast at Sizewell close to Leiston, but only one is still operational.

Sizewell B is the mostly recently opened nuclear power plant in Britain and started generating electricity in 1995 Credit: PA

Opponents of a third nuclear power plant at Sizewell said the decision to delay coincided with an anticipated announcement by EDF of cost and time overruns expected at Hinkley Point C currently under construction in Somerset.

Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C said: "This delay is down to the dozens of really difficult problems with the Sizewell C application - including water supply, transport, coastal erosion and biodiversity.

"More importantly it questions a major cornerstone of the government's Energy Security Strategy.

"The dinosaur that is Sizewell C has already been 11 years in the making, and a lengthy construction is still some way off if it ever begins."

The government's energy review, announced in April, pledged to build eight more nuclear reactors across the UK to supply up a quarter of Britain's future electricity requirements.

It also announced £100m to support the development of Sizewell B.

EDF Energy also announced it would be looking at extending the operational life of that reactor, which had been due to end in 2035, with the possibility of a 20-year extension.

Of the delay to the decision, spokesperson for Sizewell C said: "This extension is understandable given the breadth of information provided on the project following almost a decade of local consultation to deliver Suffolk’s new nuclear power station.

"We look forward to receiving their decision in due course.”

There has been a nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast at Sizewell since the 1960s Credit: PA