Decision on EDF's Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk delayed again by government

An image of what the new Sizewell C nuclear power station would look like.
Credit: EDF Energy
An image of what Sizewell C in Suffolk would look like. Credit: Sizewell C

A decision on a new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk has been delayed again by the government.

French energy company EDF wants to build Sizewell C, a £20 billion two-reactor nuclear plant, next to Sizewell B.

EDF says it will provide electricity for six million homes, but campaigners fear it will be a disaster for the local environment.

A decision on Sizewell C was expected today (7 July), but it has been pushed back to 20 July at the latest.

Paul Scully MP said: "I have decided to set a new deadline of no later than 20 July 2022 for deciding this application. This is to ensure there is sufficient time to allow the Secretary of State to consider the proposal."

The proposed Sizewell C power plant will be built next to Sizewell B at a cost of around £20 billion. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In January, the Government announced £100million of funding to support Sizewell C's continued development, with the move aimed to attract further financing from private investors.

The Suffolk station is part of a fleet of new nuclear power plants that form a key part of the government's energy strategy, along with offshore wind and hydrogen.

But the plans have prompted protests from environmentalists, including the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) who warn it will be built on the Minsmere nature reserve, endangering more than 6,000 species.

On Wednesday, the French government announced the state was taking full control of EDF, in a drive to boost its domestic nuclear expansion.

Reacting to the delay, Alison Downes, of campaign group Stop Sizewell C, said it would have been farcical if a decision on Sizewell C had been made today, following the news from Paris.

She added: "We also hope that announcements of EDF's re-nationalisation have given ministers pause, especially when EDF's parlous finances are at least in part down to their disastrous track record at building the type of reactors proposed for Sizewell C."

Sizewell C would be built next to Sizewell B on the Suffolk coast at a cost of around £20 billion.

What is Sizewell C?

Sizewell C is a new nuclear power station set to be built next to Sizewell B which began operating in 1995.

French energy company EDF, which is behind the project, claim the plant will supply power to six million homes.

EDF says Sizewell C will be a 3.2-gigawatt power station which is able to provide reliable low-carbon electricity which does not rely on the weather.

The EPR reactor design has been approved by the UK’s nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

Once built, Sizewell C will generate low-carbon electricity for at least 60 years and will employ 900 people, in addition to the thousands of jobs needed for maintenance outages.

EDF says Sizewell C will save nine million tonnes of CO2 emissions for every year of its operation.

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