Government ‘to take 20 per cent stake’ in Sizewell C nuclear plant

The government is set to take a 20 per cent stake in Sizewell C, EDF’s £20bn proposed nuclear power plant in Suffolk.

According to a BBC report, French state-owned energy firm EDF will match the UK government’s 20 per cent stake. It is expected that the twin investment will attract private funding for the remaining 60 per cent.

If the formal announcement comes through it will dramatically raise the scale of the government’s investment in the Suffolk plant. In January, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng announced an initial contribution of £100m to Sizewell C, with the aim of developing the project and boosting investor confidence. This second push would take its investment up to £4bn, based on the estimated final project cost.

More clarity on UK-wide nuclear investment is due to be announced by the government later this week as part of the British Energy Security Strategy. The paper is said to highlight the energy goals for the UK, as well as detailing a blueprint for reducing its dependence on foreign oil.

Last weekend prime minster Boris Johnson said the government wanted to make use of naturally occurring hydrocarbons in the UK and cut its dependence on imported oil from Russia. Johnson said plans for big nuclear power projects and small modular reactors (SMRs) were in the works.

The prime minster recently met with leaders in the nuclear industry for talks on future energy projects. Senior leaders from Balfour Beatty, Mace and L&G participated.

Last October, the government outlined how it plans to fund new nuclear power plant construction in the UK, with the adoption of a Regulated Asset Base (RAB) funding model. As per the model, UK energy bill payers would part-fund the construction of new plants through their energy bills, which, according to the government, would take the pressure off private investors and reduce the whole-life costs.

Seven out of eight nuclear power plants in the UK will be switched off by 2030. EDF is currently building Hinkley Point C, which is expected to be operational by 2026. Sizewell C could power the equivalent of about six million homes.

A government spokesperson said: “As the prime minister has said, nuclear will be a key part of our upcoming energy security strategy, alongside renewables. We are committed to scaling up our nuclear electricity generation capacity and building more nuclear power here in the UK, and Sizewell C is an important part of our new nuclear programme.”

 

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