Nuclear: London will discuss with EDF the construction of a new plant

The British government announced Monday, December 14 that it would begin discussions with the French energy giant EDF for the construction of a new nuclear power plant, Sizewell C, in Suffolk, on the east coast of England.

The public authorities do not exclude participating in the financing to allow this power station to emerge, according to a press release from the Department of Enterprise which unveils several measures to green the British economy. The government “assesses the possibilities for investing in at least one nuclear power plant” by the end of this legislature, or 2024, it is specified.

This project at Sizewell, evaluated according to the British press at 20 billion pounds (21.8 billion euros), could create thousands of jobs (25,000, EDF estimates) thanks to its construction as well as its operation. London specifies that the project will have to be financially balanced and obtain regulatory green lights, before a final investment decision is made.

EDF announced in May that it had filed an application to build this new power plant, a file that was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With a total power of 3.2 GW, Sizewell C will be able to supply electricity to six million homes, the French group said at the time.

At the Sizewell site, there are two plants, Sizewell A, which opened in the 1960s and closed in 2006, and Sizewell B, which opened in 1995 and is still in operation.

The power station is designed as a quasi-replica of the one at Hinkley Point located in Somerset (south-west of England) and should be developed, like the latter, by EDF alongside the Chinese CGN. This should make it possible, according to EDF, to reduce the risks and costs for this new plant.

In its statement, the British government does not mention CGN, which should be a minority partner in the project, even as economic relations between London and Beijing have been strained since the decision to exclude Huawei from the 5G network in the country.

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