Sizewell C inches closer to starting line

A project to build the Sizewell C nuclear power plant has taken a significant step forward – although it has yet to be granted formal permission to begin construction.

The £20bn Suffolk project has been granted a nuclear site licence, meaning a nuclear power plant can be built on the site.

But developer EDF now needs to request permission to start nuclear-related construction works from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

The ONR reviewed a previous application for a nuclear site licence back in 2022, but flagged two stumbling blocks to EDF around its control and ownership of the site.

Those have now been “resolved to ONR’s satisfaction”, the ONR said.

ONR chief executive Mark Foy said: “The licensing process is fundamental in confirming that operators of a nuclear site are ready and able to meet their obligations under the nuclear site licence, to protect their workforce and the public.

“The granting of this licence is one step in ONR’s process, allowing us to provide greater regulatory oversight, advice and challenge to the licensee as they progress their plans.”

In its Project Assessment Report for Sizewell C, published yesterday (7 May), the ONR said both of the concerns had been “satisfactorily resolved”.

Sizewell C Ltd, the body in charge of the project, did not own the site entirely back in 2022, which is a requirement for nuclear projects.

Instead, EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Ltd owned the plot, which has since been acquired by Sizewell C Ltd.

The ONR also rejected the application initially because Sizewell C Ltd did not have control over the safety and security of the site. Instead, that rested with its holding company, Sizewell C (Holding) Ltd.

But Sizewell C Ltd is now in control of the safety and security itself.

However, the project remains under the spotlight over concerns its costs are ramping up.

In March, energy regulator Ofgem asked energy secretary Claire Coutinho to prove that Sizewell C will deliver value for money.

It said its concerns around the costs were “especially pertinent” given the struggles experienced by EDF at nuclear site Hinkley Point C.

The cost of building Hinkley Point C has increased by about a third since 2015.

So far Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues Travaux Publics have been appointed to deliver initial civil works at Sizewell C.

In January, ministers committed £1.3bn for initial infrastructure works on the project.

The nuclear power plant was granted planning permission in July 2022.

Once in operation, it is expected to generate enough electricity to power 6 million households for more than 60 years.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top