The UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said on 30 June that it had “received an application for a nuclear site licence from NNB Generation Company (SZC) Limited to construct and operate two EPR reactors at Sizewell in Suffolk.
The Sizewell C plant will be an almost identical to Hinkley Point C, under construction in Somerset.
The UK planning inspectorate accepted a application 24 June for Sizewell C that will be examined over 15 to 18 months. EDF Energy said a nuclear site licence examination would take a similar amount of time.
“We will now assess the application, partly informed by our previous assessment of the EPR at Hinkley Point C – including using the relevant lessons from that assessment, while focusing on aspects specifically relevant to Sizewell C,” said ONR. Shane Turner, ONR Head of EPR regulation.
The nuclear site licence application for Hinkley Point C was submitted to ONR in July 2011 and approved in November 2012.
“Whilst we are satisfied that the application is sufficiently complete to proceed to assessment stage, there is still a lot of work to do – and we do not expect to reach a decision, until at least the end of 2021," Turner said.
"The assessment of a site licence is a significant step, but is not itself permission to start nuclear-related construction. That requires separate regulatory permission from ONR,” he added.
EDF Energy said if Sizewell C is approved, a financial investment decision to build the power plant could be taken at the end of 2021 or early 2022 with construction starting "soon afterwards".