French-owned energy giant reportedly plotting new nuclear power station in Suffolk in partnership with China’s CGN
EDF is gearing up to formally submit plans for a new £16bn-£20bn nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk within weeks, which if approved could generate enough energy for around six million UK homes, according to reports.
The French state-controlled energy giant has again teamed up with CGN – the Chinese state-owned company with which it is currently developing Hinkley Point C power station in Somerset – on the project, which would include two new EPR reactors, reports The Telegraph.
A planning application is currently being prepared for the new Suffolk nuclear plant, which would be located at the same site as EDF’s existing Sizewell B nuclear plant, and could be lodged by as soon as the end of this month, or potentially in March, the newspaper revealed on Saturday.
Due to the size of the development, the project requires a Development Consent Order (DSO) to proceed from the UK’s Planning Inspectorate, which could take around a year to approve or reject the application.
If given the go-ahead, Sizewell is expected to generate around seven per cent of the UK’s electricity, making it an almost identically-sized project to Hinkley Point C.
However, concerns reportedly remain about flood risk at the site due to its low lying coastal location, while a framework for funding the new Sizewell nuclear plant still needs to be ironed out, which could potentially delay the plant’s development, according to the newspaper.
A spokesperson for EDF said work on the DSO application “is continuing” but declined to comment any further when contacted by BusinessGreen.
It comes in the wake of criticism over the decision to proceed with the two firms’ other flagship nuclear project Hinkley Point C due to the high cost associated with the project, which is being paid for through a surcharge on consumer energy bills.
In September EDF was once again forced to increase its cost estimates for the Somerset project, admitting that costs are likely to soar £2.9bn over the original budget, and that it may not start generating electricity until 2026, 15 months later than previously scheduled.
More broadly the UK’s nuclear sector has suffered setbacks over the past couple of years, with two other major projects at Wylfa in North Wales and Moorside in Cumbria having both been shelved by developers over cost concerns.
Advocates of new nuclear power argue zero carbon baseload electricity is crucial to delivering the UK’s 2050 net zero target, but critics point to the rapidly declining costs of renewables and grid balancing technologies as viable alternatives for nuclear.
Source: Business Green