Sizewell C has signed an agreement with EDF Energy for the freehold of the land required for construction of a new NPP on UK’s Suffolk coast. Sizewell C is expected to host two EPR reactors producing 3.2 GWe similar to the Hinkley Point C plant, under construction in Somerset. EDF Energy submitted a development consent order (DCO – planning application) for the plant in May 2020, which was granted in July 2022. In March, the UK's Environment Agency granted environmental permits. In January, Sizewell C NPP triggered its DCO, opening the way to formal construction.

As a standalone company, majority owned by the UK Government, Sizewell C Ltd is required to purchase the land before it can be eligible for a nuclear site licence, after the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) completes its ongoing assessment. The Government as the majority shareholder is currently investing a total of £2.5bn ($3.2bn) in financial support for the project.

Most of the land will be used for the construction of the power station buildings, including the two reactor units. The surrounding area will provide space for new wildlife habitats, a temporary construction site, and an accommodation campus for 2,400 workers.

Once construction of Sizewell C is completed, the majority of the newly purchased land will be restored to grassland, heathland, scrub and deciduous woodland. In the long-run, Sizewell C is expected to boost local biodiversity by 19%. The project has faced persistent opposition from environmentalists.

Nigel Cann and Julia Pyke, Sizewell C Managing Directors, said: “This is another important step which fulfils a key requirement of the ONR and demonstrates that Sizewell C is an independent organisation. It builds on the progress we are making right across the project in raising additional finance, agreeing contracts with suppliers, and manufacturing key nuclear components. We are also accelerating the recruitment of our workforce and preparing the ground at our construction site so that we can begin bulk earthworks in a few weeks from now.”

Minister for Nuclear & Renewables, Andrew Bowie, said: “This deal not only secures the land we need to build the power station, it also guarantees the project’s independence as it draws closer to a final investment decision. Sizewell C will be a major piece of our energy infrastructure helping us achieve our ambition of up to 24GW of low-carbon nuclear power by 2050.”

Image: CGI of the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power plant