France’s Framatome has signed multi-billion euro contracts with Sizewell C Ltd, a standalone company majority-owned by the UK government, laying out the scope of its involvement in the Sizewell C nuclear new build project. This followed the UK Government Investment Decision in November 2022 to approve the construction of two EPR reactors at the Sizewell site on the Suffolk Coast. The two units will generate 3.2 GW of electricity and power the equivalent of 6m homes for 60 years.

In January, £1.3bn ($1.6bn) in government funding was approved allowing for necessary infrastructure work such as roads and rail lines to continue pending a final investment decision. In March, Sizewell C signed a deal with EDF Energy to purchase the freehold of the land which will be used for the new plant.

Under the Sizewell C project, Framatome has been awarded several contracts. Framatome will be responsible for the delivery of the two nuclear heat production systems, from design phase (replicated from the Hinkley Point C project) and their supply, to their commissioning. Framatome will also provide the plant’s safety instrumentation and control syst‎ems. Also included are a long-term fuel supply agreement, under which Framatome will fabricate the fuel for the two reactors, as well as a contract for long-term services and maintenance to support the operation of the plant.

“Framatome is proud to continue supporting the UK’s Net Zero target by 2050 by delivering a replica of the Hinkley Point C project at Sizewell C, said Framatome CEO Bernard Fontana. “The project will benefit from the valuable experience garnered from Hinkley Point C and our teams are determined to make it a success.” Framatome is 80.5% owned by EDF and 19.5% by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The UK government continues to seek investment in the Sizewell C project. EDF had agreed in 2016 with China General Nuclear (CGN) to develop the Sizewell C project to the point where a final investment decision was expected. EDF held an 80% stake and CGN 20% but this fell victim to deteriorating relations with China. In November 2022, the UK agreed to invest £679m as a 50% partner with EDF in the Sizewell C project. EDF made clear that it planned to "retain only a minority stake in the final investment decision – a maximum of 20%".

A further £511m was allocated in mid-2023, with the aim of supporting the project to the final investment decision. In September 2023 the government launched a pre-qualification for potential investors as the first stage of an equity raise. Legislation has also been adopted on a Regulated Asset Base (RAB) funding model whereby consumers will contribute towards the cost of NPP construction. This replaced the Contracts for Difference system under which developers financed construction and received revenue when the plant began power generation.

Image: Visualisation of the Sizewell C nuclear power plant (courtesy of EDF)