Cost of new Sizewell C nuclear plant in England revealed at £20bn

Price revealed for new nuclear plant for the first time in planning documents

                                

A new nuclear plant proposed to be built on England’s east coast will cost £20bn, according to planning documents that reveal the higher-than-expected price of the project for the first time. 

France’s EDF and Chinese state-owned CGN, the developers of the proposed plant at Sizewell in Suffolk, had previously indicated that the power station could be built for 20 per cent less than Hinkley Point C. 

Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation is under construction in Somerset. This implied a cost of about £18bn for the Suffolk plant, called Sizewell C, after EDF last year said the price tag for Hinkley Point had risen to as much as £22.5bn. 

The revelation of Sizewell’s cost in extensive planning documents published will reignite the debate around whether the UK should build large new nuclear plants.

Some backbench Conservative MPs, opposed to Chinese state involvement in critical national infrastructure, have concerns about the project because of the presence of CGN. 

The Chinese state-owned company is a junior financing partner on the Sizewell C project but hopes to install its own reactor technology in another proposed nuclear station at Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex. 

EDF said in the planning documents that the cost estimate for Sizewell C includes design, construction and land costs associated with the proposed site, which is situated next to one of the UK’s operational nuclear plants, known as Sizewell B. It also takes into account “expected inflation and contingencies”, according to the document. 

The company had previously claimed the cost savings on Sizewell could be delivered because it would be a “near identical copy” of Hinkley Point C. 

EDF said the budget detailed in the planning application includes inflation over the estimated 10 years of construction, whereas the latest estimate for Hinkley Point C, estimated to be in a range of £21.5bn to £22.5bn, was based on 2015 prices. 

EDF and CGN are yet to clarify how the new plant would be funded. 

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