EDF Energy on 27 May applied to the UK Planning Inspectorate for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to build the Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk.
The DCO application was deferred for two months “in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances created by the coronavirus” EDF said.
Extra measures will be put in place to make it easier for local communities to scrutinise the proposals once they are published. These include extending the pre-examination period to allow more time for interested parties to register with the Planning Inspectorate.
EDF said that, if approved, Sizewell C will “support the expansion of renewables and improve the UK’s national resilience by reducing the need for energy imports.
Construction will create 25,000 employment opportunities and 1000 apprenticeships.
The new Sizewell nuclear plant “will bring [a] huge economic boost to the East of England and strengthen the UK supply chain following the Coronavirus pandemic” EDF noted.
After the DCO application has been submitted there will be a 28-day period during which the Planning Inspectorate will assess whether the application is complete. Documents are not made public at this stage. A full public examination is expected to begin later this year. The government will take a final decision on the DCO application.
Up to 70% of construction value for Sizewell C will go to UK companies, and the project will aim to be majority-owned by UK investors, EDF said.
Once operational, the plant will employ 900 people in high-skilled positions based in Suffolk. Sizewell C will be a near replica of Hinkley Point C in Somerset.
“Using the same design means Sizewell C will benefit from significantly reduced construction costs and lower risk. Innovative financing has the potential to reduce costs even further,” EDF noted.
The cost of Sizewell C is put at £18 billion ($22bn), while the estimated cost of Hinkley Point C is between £21.5bn and £22.5bn.
The application for a Development Consent Order for Sizewell C follows four rounds of public consultation which began in 2012. More than 10,000 residents and organisations in Suffolk contributed their views.
Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, managing director of Sizewell C said: “On top of the economic benefits, Sizewell C will avoid 9 million tonnes of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere each year. The project will play a key role in lowering emissions while helping the UK keep control of its low carbon future.”
Under a strategic investment agreement signed in October 2016, China General Nuclear (CGN) agreed to take a 33.5% stake in the Hinkely Point C project, as well as jointly develop new nuclear power plants at Sizewell and at Bradwell, which is in Essex.
Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C will have French EPR reactor technology, while the Bradwell plant is expected to use China’s HPR1000 (Hualong One) design. EDF owns 80% of the Sizewell C project and CGN 20%.
Hinkley Point C is being financed by EDF and CGN, with a contract-for-difference (CfD) already agreed with the UK government to provide long-term price stability for the generator once the plant begins operating (but leaving construction and operating risk with the investors).
The government is considering a regulated asset-based (RAB) model for Sizewell C that would see consumers pay upfront through their energy bills.
The government said last year that the RAB model had the potential to reduce the cost of raising private finance for new nuclear projects.
Photo: Proposed SIzewell C nuclear power plant in the UK (Photo: EDF Energy)