December 4 2013 Latest news:
An agreement has been reached on commercial terms for the planned Hinckley Point C nuclear power station, meaning Sizewell C takes a big step towards also happening in the future. Richard Mayson, EDF Energy's nuclear new build director of project development on the Sizewell C site.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
A deal to secure the UK’s first nuclear plant in a generation has been welcomed as “paving the way” for construction of a proposed third station on the Suffolk coast.
Months of uncertainty over the first of a new suite of nuclear plants ended yesterday, when the Government finally struck a deal with developers EDF Energy for the guaranteed price of electricity generated at its new Hinkley Point plant in Somerset.
It means the French firm will move to the next stage of consultation on Sizewell C with “renewed confidence and momentum”, according to nuclear new build director Richard Mayson.
After more than two years of negotiation, ministers agreed a guaranteed “strike price” of £92.50 for every megawatt hour of power produced at the Hinkley C plant for 35 years after it goes online.
A flexible price could see that amount drop by £3 to £89.50 if EDF gains planning permission to build another nuclear plant at Sizewell.
Mr Mayson said developing Sizewell C could be significantly less expensive than the £16billion projected at Hinkley, due to the similarity in design and some development requirements not being “site specific”.
He said projections for job creation and economic development at the Somerset site were likely to be matched on the Suffolk coast, if the proposal gets the go-ahead.
“This deal paves the way for Sizewell C. The confidence given by the Hinkley contract provides a launchpad to take Sizewell forward with renewed momentum,” added Mr Mayson, who has been working on new nuclear development for the last 12 years.
“We always had the desire to build at Hinkley and Sizewell and this brings things a step closer. We think the contract strikes the right balance for attracting investors and passing savings back to the consumer in the long run.”
Nearly 700 East Anglian companies were involved with the construction of Sizewell B, and EDF says the same number have registered an interest in helping to develop the new plant. It also claims that Sizewell B adds £30million to the local economy, with more that a thousand extra staff on site during refuelling every 18 months.
EDF and its two Chinese partners have agreed to spend 57% of the Hinkley investment with UK firms, Mr Mayson said, although calculations are yet to be completed for Sizewell, that sum could be matched on the east coast.
“That’s no guarantee,” he stressed. “57% is a projection but we see no reason why it can’t be the same – or even better. Until we get to the point of re-tendering a contract for Sizewell, we won’t know the precise figure.”
Mr Mayson said that projections for £100m of regional economic benefit during every year of construction at Hinkley, and £40m per year during its 60-year operation, would “translate to Sizewell”.
He added: “There is a need for power in the south of England, with demand highest in London, and sites like Sizewell are favoured.”
No date has yet been set for construction to begin on the proposed Sizewell C site – a second stage of consultation is expected to start next year. “We will focus on the preferred options for the proposals but we are not yet declaring a date for that to happen,” Mr Mayson said. “It has been proven at Hinkley that negotiations can take longer than hoped. We don’t want to commit to specifics.”
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey was delighted with the announcement, saying: “This is very welcome news. While this is not an announcement for Sizewell, this is an important indication that Sizewell C will now go ahead. We can then start unlocking the jobs and investment that it will bring.”
Chairman Andy Smith and vice-chairman Richard Smith of the Joint Local Authority Group, which represents Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council, said it was a big step forward for the future of nuclear energy in the UK.
They said: “This announcement is a milestone in our negotiations with EDF. We would remind them that for Sizewell C to be a success for Suffolk, there needs to be a full and comprehensive programme of work jointly between EDF and the local community to understand and mitigate the undoubted impacts of both its construction and its long-term operation.”
The councillors met with EDF yesterday to talk about investing in transport infrastructure, including a four villages bypass, creating a “lasting legacy” of jobs and growth linked to the energy sector and respecting the AONB.
However, Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, said: “It’s incredible that the Government should sign up to such a costly deal with taxpayers’ money. We are all going to have to pay enormous sums with no end in site.
“After 55 years of nuclear power in this country, there’s still nowhere safe to put the high levels of nuclear waste – not only that which is coming, but that which we have at the moment.”