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Money thrown at Sizewell C to win hearts and minds

30 Aug 23 The government has allocated a further £341m to get the Sizewell C nuclear power station project shovel-ready.

The locals need some persuading
The locals need some persuading

The extra money will help prepare the Sizewell C site in Suffolk for construction, procuring key components from the project’s supply chain, and expanding its workforce.

It should see activity ramp up at the Suffolk site, supporting continued preparation works, such as constructing onsite training facilities for 1,500 apprenticeships and further development of the plant’s engineering design.

The public relations campaign will also be stepped up in a bid to wins hearts and minds in the Southwold-Aldeburgh area, where opposition to the project is strong. The government plans “direct investments in the local community ahead of work starting” to show that having a £35bn constriction project on your doorstep is not necessarily all bad news.

The latest £341m tranche follows a  £170m allocation last month and builds on the government’s existing £870m stake in the project to help secure a final investment decision before the next general election.

Nuclear energy minister Andrew Bowie said: “Sizewell C will be a significant part of the revival of nuclear energy in this country – providing clean, home-grown power to millions of homes, providing thousands of jobs and ending reliance on foreign electricity to bolster our energy security.

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“Today’s funding announcement is a clear demonstration of the government’s commitment to this vital project, and will mean the site will be shovel-ready, and work able to start, much more quickly.”

Like Hinkley Point C in Somerset, Sizewell C would comprise two nuclear reactors, generating a total of 3.2GW of electricity, equivalent to 7% of the UK’s electricity needs.

Sizewell C Company joint managing director Julia Pyke said: “This is great news and puts us in an even stronger position to start full construction. It will also allow us to implement several community schemes over the next few months. We want people living near Sizewell C to see the benefits of the project as soon as possible and we’re looking forward to getting started on a range of proposals which will bring real improvements to the area well before the main construction gets under way.”

The funding is made available from the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero’s capital budgets, as agreed at the 2022 autumn statement.

In November 2022, the government established a £679m investment scheme to fund Sizewell C’s continuing development, so it can reach the point of a final investment decision. £170m of additional funding was announced in July, as a permitted legacy subsidy modification to the investment scheme under the UK’s subsidy control rules. The £341m that has been made available for investment in Sizewell C represents a permitted legacy modification to the same scheme.

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