The Sizewell C nuclear power project in Suffolk, England has been granted a nuclear site licence by the UK's Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), marking a significant milestone for the £20 billion project. This is the first time the ONR has issued a site licence since 2012, when it approved the Hinkley Point C plant.

The licence, which comes into force immediately, follows a rigorous assessment process by the nuclear regulator. It formalises the ONR's regulatory responsibility and allows the project company, Sizewell C, to request permission for the start of nuclear-related construction.

Mina Golshan, Sizewell C's Safety Director, said the licence demonstrates the regulator's confidence in the project, which is replicating the Hinkley Point C design. This approach is expected to deliver safety benefits and efficiencies.

However, the granting of the licence does not permit the immediate start of construction, as Sizewell C Ltd must still seek additional approvals from the ONR and the Environment Agency. The project is anticipating a Final Investment Decision in the coming months, with the UK government and EDF searching for further investment to cover construction costs.

Once operational, the plant will provide low-carbon electricity to 6 million homes for at least 60 years, playing a crucial role in the UK's clean energy transition.

Image courtesy of Sizewell C Ltd