Johnson pledges £700m to Sizewell C

Boris Johnson has pledged £700m to help fund the UK’s next nuclear power station at Sizewell on the Suffolk coast.

 Sizewell aerial CGI
Sizewell aerial CGI - (Image: EDF)

In a speech delivered yesterday (Sept 1, 2022) at EDF’s Sizewell B nuclear power plant, the outgoing prime minister said ‘we must pull our national finger out and get on with Sizewell C’.

“This new reactor is just a part of our Great British nuclear campaign,” he said. “We will build a reactor a year again. We will build them across the country, at least eight of them, large ones and small modular reactors.”

Rated at 3.2GW, the proposed twin-reactor power station received planning permission in July 2022. EDF estimates that the new facility will support 70,000 jobs across the UK and create 1,500 apprenticeships. The company predicts also that around £1.5bn will be spent in Suffolk during construction and that the project will make an estimated lifetime contribution of £4bn to the regional economy.

It is also estimated that Sizewell C will have a lifecycle carbon footprint of 5.5g CO2 equivalent per kWh of generation.

The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) said the funding pledge is ‘a welcome and timely boost for British energy security’.

Commenting, Tom Greatrex, NIA chief executive, said: “This announcement is another important step toward starting construction at Sizewell C, cutting gas, cutting bills and creating stable, secure well-paid jobs for people up and down the country.

“The next government should sustain this momentum by giving nuclear the green label it deserves in the sustainable investment taxonomy and getting Sizewell C over the line. Sizewell C should be the start on a new era of nuclear construction to ensure our energy security for the rest of the century.”

Local campaign group Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) has written to business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to legally challenge the government’s decision.

In a statement, TASC Chair, Pete Wilkinson said: “The case against Sizewell C is overwhelming, as has been carefully documented throughout the inquiry stage and was found by the Planning Inspector to have merit. Even to consider building a £20bn+ nuclear power plant without first securing a water supply is a measure of the fixation this government has for nuclear power and its panic in making progress towards an energy policy which is as unachievable as it is inappropriate for the 21st century challenges we face.

“Government has seen fit to ignore the Planning Inspector’s recommendation to deny the application and it therefore falls to campaign groups to defend East Suffolk from the ravages of this unnecessary nuclear development.”

Have you say on this announcement in Comments below