Sizewell C project to enter construction phase

15 January 2024

The Sizewell C nuclear power plant project has been awarded a Development Consent Order (DCO), paving the way for formal construction work to begin at the site in Suffolk, UK.

Sizewell C (Image: EDF Energy)

EDF Energy submitted a DCO for the plant in May 2020. The DCO - which is from the nuclear site licence application - is considered by the Planning Inspectorate, which determines if the overall proposed scheme is acceptable under national planning legislation.  The project was granted permission by the Planning Inspectorate to build in July 2022. However, while preparatory works subsequently began, many obligations needed to be satisfied before construction could commence under its DCO

Those obligations, set out in a Deed of Obligation document signed with East Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council, and which included activity ranging from key road surveys to the establishment of Governance Groups, are all now satisfied and the formal construction phase of the project can begin, EDF Energy has announced.

By commencing formal construction, a GBP250 million (USD318 million) package of funding for the local community will become available in phases during the construction phase of the project. That funding includes GBP23 million for community projects, GBP100 million for the environment, GBP12 million to support local tourism, and a GBP12 million housing fund to boost private housing and tourist accommodation.

To ensure local people continue to have their say on the project during construction, new Sizewell C Forums have launched so that residents can discuss key issues with the project team. There are four main forums, chaired independently, covering all the main project-related topics relevant to the community. Parish and town councils will represent the community at the forums, and local people can attend the meetings as observers.

In September 2023, the UK government, Sizewell C and EDF launched an equity raise process to attract private investors into the project. While triggering the DCO and entering the construction phase is not dependent on a final investment decision (FID), constructive discussions with qualified potential investors are continuing and an FID is expected later in 2024.

"This is a significant moment for our project in Suffolk and a big step for British energy security," Julia Pyke and Nigel Cann, Joint Managing Directors at Sizewell C, said. "We've had a really successful year of pre-commencement works on site, and we've been working hard with local partners and organisations to ensure we're ready to take this next step for the project.

"While Sizewell C will be a linchpin of Britain's energy system, it's much more than a power station, especially for this region. Entering the construction phase will be a game-changer for the area, helping to boost employment and skills, enhancing the local environment, and developing new clean technologies."

Nuclear Minister, Andrew Bowie, visiting the Sizewell C construction site, said: "This is a major milestone for Sizewell C and our ambition to deliver up to 24 GW of low-carbon nuclear power by 2050. It comes after we announced the biggest expansion of nuclear power for 70 years which will help to bring down bills and bolster our energy security. East Anglia will benefit from thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships as a result, demonstrating the local rewards of backing new nuclear."

"Today's commencement of formal construction is good news for Britain," added Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association. "Construction at Sizewell C means tens of thousands of jobs on site and across the country and potentially billions in investment for the region. The project will drive much needed work into British industry and sustain the skills we need for a new nuclear programme. Sizewell lays that foundation for jobs, clean power and energy security for the rest of this century."

The plan is for Sizewell C to feature two EPRs producing 3.2 GW of electricity, enough to power the equivalent of around six million homes. It would be a "replica" of the Hinkley Point C plant, under construction in Somerset.

"Sizewell C will deliver 1500 apprenticeships and support thousands of jobs across the country, with at least one-third of the peak construction workforce of 7900 coming from the local area," Sizewell C said. "The project will invest in local skills to ensure there is a pipeline of talent ready, not only to build and operate Sizewell C, but to support the UK's future nuclear ambitions. The project will also have a transformational impact on local supply chains."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News